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|Title: ||Deriving and critiquing an empirically-based framework for pharmaceutical ethics.|
|Authors: ||Lipworth, W|
|Issue Date: ||2013|
|Publisher: ||Taylor & Francis|
|Citation: ||Lipworth W, Little M. 2013. Deriving and critiquing an empirically-based framework for pharmaceutical ethics. American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) Empirical Bioethics, 5(1): 23–32.|
|Abstract: ||Background: The pharmaceutical industry has been responsible for major medical advances,
but the industry has also been heavily criticized. Such criticisms, and associated regulatory
responses, are no doubt often warranted, but do not provide a framework for those who
wish to reason systematically about the moral dimensions of drug development. We set out
to develop such a framework using Beauchamp and Childress’s “four principles” as
Methods: We conducted a qualitative interview study of people working in the “medical
affairs” departments of pharmaceutical companies to determine: (1) whether our data
could meaningfully be organized under the headings of “autonomy,” “beneficence,” “nonmaleficence,” and “justice”; (2) how principles might be expressed in this particular
commercial setting; and (3) if these principles are expressed, whether and how competing
principles are balanced. We then critiqued these findings using existing normative theory.
Results: Our interviews demonstrated that three of Beauchamp and Childress’ four
principles were salient to our participants: beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice.
Within each of these principles, participants had two broad ethical orientations: an altruistic
public focus (“other-ness”) and a commitment to their companies (“firm-ness”). Our
participants also demonstrated efforts to balance these principles and highlighted the
importance of phronesis (or practical wisdom) in balancing and enacting principles. Notably,
however, our participants did not spontaneously emphasize the importance of autonomy.
Conclusions: It is possible to use qualitative empirical research, together with normative
analysis, to derive a framework for pharmaceutical ethics. We suggest that our framework
would be useful for those who wish to reason ethically within, or in collaboration with, the
Keywords: Empirical ethics, principle-based ethics, pharmaceutical industry, pharmaceutical
ethics, qualitative research|
|Type of Work: ||Article|
|Type of Publication: ||Post-print|
|Appears in Collections:||Research Papers and Publications. Sydney Health Ethics|
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