Business Ethics in Pharmaceutical Industry

“Ethics is not definable, is not implementable, because it is not conscious; it involves not only our thinking, but also our feeling.” – Valdemar W. Setzer

“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics” – Albert Einstein

The first course in SSBM ITB is Business Ethics and Business Law. Basically the objective is to provide  broad understanding of the ethical and legal challanges that may arise in business activities. In this course, I got homework to write paper about business ethics. Instead writing ethics in the information technology, I decided to wrote  something different from my experience. I wrote paper about ethics in pharmacetical industry, Unethical alliance between physicians and pharmaceutical industry. Read the introduction below and download here for full article.

Interactions between physicians and pharmaceutical industry have been increased significantly in over the last several years and it becomes such common activities. These interactions will lead to the conflict of interest between physician’s duties to the patient and the pharmaceutical industry interest to sell the products as much as possible, in other words, profit-seeking behavior. Dr. Marius Widjajarta, Head of Indonesian Health Consumers Empowerment Foundation (YPKKI) has estimated Rp. 500 billion is spent each year by pharmaceutical companies in promotion and marketing and the total amounts of money circulating among physicians is more than 20 % and more than Rp. 500 billion.

There are various approaches from pharmaceutical industry to become friendlier to physicians that violating ethical principles of physicians by influence prescribing patterns and stimulate requests for addition of drugs to the hospital formularies. The prescribing patterns will impact to the patient’s welfare, sometimes patients feel their physicians gave too much drugs and the cost will be raised along with the number of drug types. Moreover, drugs price in Indonesia is very expensive. Prof. Dr. dr. Agus Purwadianto, DFM, SH, Msi, Sp.F (K), Head of Physicians Ethics Commitee (MKEK) said that the expensiveness of drugs is caused by 20 % pharmaceutical industry’s incetive to the physicians.

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