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The aim of this exercise is to help you become familiar with the techniques of moral reasoning and to encourage you to think critically about moral issues. Remember to support your particular moral judgments about these cases with reasons. You should aim to justify your particular moral judgments using relevant moral principles and moral reasons. These principles may be very general, like the principle of utility ('maximize happiness'), or common deontological principles concerned with loyalty, promise keeping or those prohibiting killing and harming, etc. Aim to achieve a consistent fit between your moral beliefs, principles and particular judgments. Refer to the readings for seminars 3 and 4 in order to find examples of moral principles and reasons and explanations of moral reasoning and justification.
Make sure you answer every part of each question. Remember to provide sufficient detail in Section C to give a clear indication of your overall position with regard to the cases and the principles you endorse. This is a short answer assignment. You do not need to answer the questions in the form of an essay. Please include a bibliography with the main sources from the question and any additional sources you reference directly. Include citations in the body of the assignment where appropriate.
Answer ALL the questions from sections A, B and C (questions 1-6)
Read the following news items and answer the questions:
'GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3bn in US drug fraud scandal'
Watch or read the transcript of the following program and answer the questions:
Globesity: Fat's New Frontier.
6. 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? Explain why or why not making sure you identify the morally relevant differences or similarities between the two cases to support your conclusions.
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Yes, there is a moral difference between merely failing to provide relevant information and actively making false claims about the safety of a drug, as the former is unintended and might be coincidental, whereas, making false claims is equivalent to an intentional lie and thus, is a worse unethical act.
3. I would not make any difference in my assessment even if GSK's activities are found to be legal, as morality can't be reduced to the law (Callahan, 1988, p.11). Although there are similarities between morality and law, or rather, the similarity is desired, practices can be immoral irrespective of being legal. On the other hand, there are examples of practices (homosexuality, or anti-Semitism) which are not immoral but are illegal (Callahan, 1988, p.11). So, the GSK's activities being immoral should be condemned, irrespective of whether it is found to be legal or not. At no cost, the lives of any innocent being can be risked (Thomas & Schmidt, 2012).