The case relates to the lawsuits filed against Amgen in Ventura. Amgen is an American multinational company headquartered in Thousand Oaks, California. The complaints were brought by former employees who were fired from the organization. The employees complained that the reason for firing them was disclosure of wrongdoing of an organization in front of leaders. Shawn O’Brien was terminated as a result of retaliation for informing the company about the problems and reported complaints of the drugs distributed in the market. He was a senior project manager, and his job was to improve compliance processes with high risk to major criminal, public safety, and civil liability. In June 2007, he found that the company is not identifying the problems made through phone calls and emails. After no response the complaint about that inadequate post-market problem was made to the CEO of the company. He was ordered to stop the work and to keep silent on the issue. In September 2007, he was informed that he cannot work with the company anymore (Mintz., 2011).
How did Amgen's unethical behavior contribute to the problems with Medicaid kickbacks?
Amgen offered kickbacks to medical providers with the intention to boost up the sales of the company. There were many medicines that were to be given as a free sample to doctors, to be distribute among patients. According to the facts of the complaint, it was noticed that the company was selling those drugs in the market with the help of other medical providers. The company offered bribery payments to the medical providers on contributing their part in this illegal action. It is common in the medical industry that many medicines are provided free of cost to the doctors that can be ultimately transferred to the patients. If anyone charges for such medicines, then they are convict in the eyes of the Federal law. Kickbacks are not allowed in the United States, and there is high punishment for the suspects found guilty in this case. It is an illegal payment that is offered to the person or organization to refrain from any action against unethical and improper activity. The company did not follow its ethical standards and committed a wrongful action that could result in the violence in the society (Mintz., 2011).
Why does the public consider this scandal to have an unethical dilemma?
The public consider that this scandal was an unethical dilemma as the payments for the free drugs is paid from the taxpayers’ revenue. It is unethical to use that money for the personal profits, and the action supports the unethical behavior of the company. The taxpayers may suffer loss due to the scandal, and that does not support good impression on the public who belongs to the working class in the society. The taxpayers must be aware about the allocation of their tax contribution, so that no or less corruption prevails in the society. Amgen action considers to be an unethical dilemma as the public opposed and raised a question to the authorities because proper action was not taken against such type of activities. The action resulted in the distrust of the public who pay the amount from their income to support the state in providing facilities to all the citizens (Mintz., 2011).
Explain what is meant by whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing refers to the action of a person who has knowledge about the illegal activities found in an organization. A whistleblower is a person who provides complete information about the illegal activities of an organization to law enforcement agencies. The Congress had passed a law in 1989, to protect whistleblowers. The law enabled the employees to file a complaint against their employer, if they recognize that employer is retaliating against them on the disclosure of illegal or improper activities. The law has protected whistleblowers by promoting them that it is their responsibility to disclose such type of activities if seen in an organization. The law provides complete security to whistleblower and allows them to complain about any consequences for the reaction. Whistleblowers are also allowed to complain about any action taken against their rights and interest. They should be appreciated on the identification of such wrongful acts prevailing in the society. It helps authorities to acknowledge what is going wrong, why it is unethical or illegal, and what remedies should be taken to avoid such type of activities (Mintz., 2011).
In my opinion, the scandal of Amgen was, in fact, illegal and opposed to social responsibility. The action committed by the company was against the public policy. The government authorities provide the Medicaid facilities, but the general public makes the payment through taxes. The reaction of public on the scandal was valid as they have complete right to acknowledge where their paid taxes are being used. The authorities should focus on such type of activities to protect the payments of taxpayers. It is the social responsibility of a person to identify such type of activities around him. The Federal Law should implement the law for the protection of whistleblowers who are advised to disclose such facts in front of regulatory authorities. The problem should be addressed in the media, and influential personalities should be appointed to bring aware in the citizens about their right as well as responsibility to disclose the facts.
The case proved to be unethical on grounds of personal interest of Amgen. The regulatory authorities must take serious actions and punish the responsible people to set an example in front of others. Health and Medicaid facilities are provided to eliminate different diseases from the society. However, if personal interest is added in this work, it will demolish the efforts of Government and the payments made in the form of tax by the citizen will not be beneficial to them.
There is a gap between public expectation of ethical standards and universal professional codes of ethical standards. The universal ethical standards provide a framework designed for the organizations to follow them accordingly. The public expectations of ethical standards are more than the universal ethical framework. In this case, public expects to recover the samples that were sold by the company in the market. However, the universal professional code of ethics set punishment for the violation of rules. The whistleblowers should be promoted by the public as they feel that the company should work in the interest of the public. The universal code of ethics only provides framework to refrain companies from doing some actions. It is the responsibility of drug companies to report to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding any problem that may occur after the drugs hit the targeted market. The public ethical standards illustrate that the authorities should have prevented the company to commit the wrongful action.
Mintz., S. M. (2011). Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting: Text and Cases, 2nd Edition. Noida: McGraw-Hill Learning Solutions.