Sumary of Why big pharma had a responsibility to profit from the pandemic:
- The pharmaceutical company Pfizer expects to earn up to US$26 billion (£18 billion) this year from the sale of its Covid-19 vaccine..
- On the other hand, it could be argued that pharma companies have both a business and a social responsibility to use their profit-making model to provide the world with vaccines..
- On the other are those who believe that while profit making is a necessary corporate objective, the corporation also has responsibilities towards its employees, the environment, its community and society at large..
- But not only is this view of corporate responsibility legally correct, it is also the socially responsible view of the corporation because it recognises the wider consequences of a “profit at all costs”.
- It takes into account the human side of business, such as the impact on workers and local communities when factories close and production is outsourced to places with lower wage costs (and often less regulation)..
- Surely it would have been more troubling if their management teams had chosen not to work on a Covid-19 vaccine because of the huge financial costs involved, and the reputational costs that would inevitably follow if their attempts failed..
- But this was not the path that Pfizer for example chose when it weighed up the various factors in play, including the societal benefits of a Covid-19 vaccine, the associated business risks of such a venture, and of course the chance to increase profits..
- Moderna and Pfizer (and its development partner BioNTech) also did exactly what the corporate law frameworks in their respective countries required….