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The Ethics of the Life Sciences Industry: Making Company Decisions and a Plan that Demonstrate Good Business and Strong Values

By Rosemary Weghorst

In today’s market, pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotech companies straddle two worlds. In one world, they are driven by a public need to ensure access to a safe product at an affordable price. In another world, companies are driven by a competitive and capitalistic market to increase profit and market share while lowering costs. These two worlds do not have to be in conflict, but they sometimes are, and those conflicts can drive an ethical perception of an organization. The 2013 Harris poll in the United States indicated that American consumer perceptions of the pharmaceutical industry had gone down: only 10 percent of American consumers believed that the pharmaceutical industry was trustworthy (down from 13 percent in 2003), and were considered less trustworthy than other regulated industries, such as banking (18 percent) and public utilities (14 percent). In addition, 39 percent of survey respondents indicated that they wanted to see more government regulation in the pharmaceutical industry.

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