This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:
The October 2005 issue of Business Ethics Quarterly is a special issue: ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITIES REGARDING DRUGS, PATENTS, AND HEALTH
Here are a couple of abstracts from this issue:
De George RT. Intellectual property and pharmaceutical drugs: an ethical analysis. Business Ethics Quarterly 2005; 15(4):549-575.
Abstract: The pharmaceutical industry has in recent years come under attack from an ethical point of view concerning its patents and the non-accessibility of life-saving drugs for many of the poor both in less developed countries and in the United States. The industry has replied with economic and legal justifications for its actions. The result has been a communication gap between the industry on the one hand and poor nations and American critics on the other. This paper attempts to present and evaluate the arguments on all sides and suggests a possible way out of the current impasse. It attempts to determine the ethical responsibility of the drug industry in making drugs available to the needy, while at the same time developing the parallel responsibilities of individuals, governments, and NGOs. It concludes with the suggestion that the industry develop an international code for its self-regulation.
Leisinger KM. The corporate social responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry: idealism without illusion and realism without resignation. Business Ethics Quarterly 2005; 15(4):577-594.
Abstract: In recent years society has come to expect more from the "socially-responsible" company and the global HIV/AIDS pandemic in particular has resulted in some critics saying that the "Big Pharma" companies have not been living up to their social responsibilities. Corporate social responsibility can be understood as the socio-economic product of the organizational division of labor in complex modern society. Global poverty and poor health conditions are in the main the responsibilities of the world's national governments and international governmental organizations, which possess society's mandate and appropriate organizational capabilities. Private enterprises have neither the societal mandate nor the organizational capabilities to feed the poor or provide health care to the sick in their home countries or in the developing world. Nevertheless, private enterprises do have responsibilities to society that can be categorized as what they must do, what they ought do, and what they can do.