Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

"The Outbreak": Discussion Questions

by Kari Kjos
  1. What should the Mubanda health minister do? The options mentioned in the case are listed below:
    1. Divert what resources she could from HIV/AIDS programs to buy supplies of Holizan at the current global price of $450 per regiment
    2. Ask Rosendahl to make supplies of Holizan available free or at production cost
    3. Arrange with a generic drug firm in South Africa to produce a Holizan equivalent without permission form or payment to Rosendahl.
    4. Wait and see how the crisis develops
  2. What should Rosendahl's CEO Elliott do, knowing that he has no control over the production of generic Holizan in Africa?
  3. Pharma and Stakeholders: What obligations do pharmaceutical companies have to their stock holders and development financers? What responsibilities, if any, does the pharmaceutical industry have to both the local and global communities?
  4. What is a "fair" price for Holizan? In answering this question, consider what is fair to Rosendahl, Rosendahl's stock holders, and the people of Mubanda.
    1. Should Rosendahl provide Holizan for free? At production cost? At a price that will cover development costs to break even? At a price that will turn a profit
  5. When should countries be able to violate patent rights?
    1. What do you think of the WTO rules?
    2. What do you think of Celine Charvariet of OXFAM's statement that "poverty alone in the third world ought to justify violating patent rights on a very broad set of drugs"?
    3. How will WTO patent rules affect new R&D on pharmaceuticals for the third world?

July 2010


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