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Read the following news item and answer the questions:
“GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3bn in US drug fraud scandal”
1. What are the main ethical issues raised by GlaxoSmithKline’s decision not to release relevant research data and to make unsupported safety claims for one of its diabetes drugs? Is there a moral difference between merely failing to provide relevant information and actively making false claims about the safety of a drug? Why/Why not? Support your conclusions with reference to specific moral principles and reasons.
2. GSK’s activities were found to be illegal. Would it make a difference to your moral assessment of the case if such activities were not against the law? Why/Why not?
Section B
Watch or read the transcript of the following program and answer the questions:
Globesity: Fat’s New Frontier.
3. Do large food and beverage companies have any moral obligation or responsibility to consider the consequences for public health of marketing and distributing certain kinds of food and drink products? Why/Why not? Answer this question using examples from the documentary to support your conclusions.
4. The program describes a range of marketing techniques used by food and beverage companies in different countries: the marketing of soft drinks to schools in Mexico; the door to door selling of snack foods fortified with micronutrients and marketed to low income families in Brazil; a snack food boat that visits small villages along the Amazon to promote and sell food and drinks. Do you find any of these marketing techniques morally problematic? Explain in each case, why or why not.
Section C
5. Compare your responses to the two cases. Do you apply the same principles and standards of conduct to pharmaceutical companies as you do to food and beverage companies? What are the morally relevant differences/similarities between the two cases?