Think about the definition of stakeholders—any parties with a stake in the organizations actions or performance. Who are the stakeholders in this situation? How many can you list? On what basis would you rank them in importance?
The stakeholders in the Merk case is the people infected with river blindness, the community affected by river blindness, the employees of Merk, the company itself, and the Stockholders. In order of importance:
1. The infected people
2. The company
4. The employees
5. Community affected by river blindness
What are the potential costs and benefits of such an investment?
The Scientists were encouraging Merk to invest in further research of the drug ivermectin to see if it could be modified for humans….
Not to develop the drug? How might either decision affect Merck’s reputation?
Most likely, media would have positive remarks if Merk decided to develop the drug because the company would be impacting lives of the less fortunate even though they would not profit from the medicine. This would positively affect the company’s image with the public. However, if they did not decide to develop the drug, it could negatively affect their image especially if the media would be aware of it.
Think about the decision in terms of the CSR pyramid. Did Merck have an ethical obligation to proceed with development of the drug? Would it matter if the drug had only a small chance to cure river blindness? Does it depend on how close the company was to achieving a cure, or how sure they were that they could achieve it? Or does this decision become a question of philanthropy…
Even if the drug has a small percent of curing river blindness, they should consider the people that are affected by the disease and the conditions that they live in. In the case, it states that researching could take years, but if one life is saved from the medication, I feel that it would be a success because I do not feel that a company should put a value on a human life. Since the river blindness occurs in an underdeveloped part of the world where the occupants are deprived of basic necessities, the decision of developing the drug becomes a question of philanthropy than a question of profit.
How does Merck’s value system fit into this decision?
Merk bases their value system in the people that the medicine is for not the profits that are created from making the drugs. Since the company openly states these values to the employees, they should pursue making the medicine. By doing this, the company would be reinforcing their values.
If you were the senior executive of Merck, what would you…