As the year began, Martin Shkrelli was called before a Congressional committee to defend his decision to hike the price of a life-saving drug from $13.50 to $750. The controversial decision has gained vast media attention because of the extremity of the hike. While a 5000% increase of this nature undoubtedly shines a spotlight on corporate greed, it should also raise a key question: how often do pharmaceutical hikes go undetected even when they violate corporate social responsibility?
The high price of prescription drugs in the US has been well-documented, and studies abound comparing and questioning why other developed nations pay so much less. Undoubtedly there are numerous research and development costs, as well as supply chain considerations that go into these costs. But when citizens’ lives and health are at stake, how do we draw the line between sustainable and responsible profit versus unethical greed? Medicine and healthcare provide us with the limit cases.
Donations and involvement during times of disaster are praiseworthy, certainly. However, they do not seem sufficient to overcome greed based markups in fields that involve life and death.
To what extent can the utilization of lean principles continue increasing efficiency, reducing cost, and making corporate social responsibility in healthcare and pharmaceuticals easier and more desirable to obtain?
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