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Multiple Sclerosis - Case Study



Part A: 1. Discussion on the manager's behavior in terms of the five approaches (fairness, Virtue, rights and utilitarian, common good approach) and comparison of how each of these approaches contributed to the overall benefits of the organization.

Solution: Introduction: In order to prevent bankruptcy, the manager, forced to fire 500 employees, ensured he was virtuous and took care of his employees by ensuring their wellbeing.

Five approaches of ethics with reference to the case are explained below.

Fairness: This approach refers to any action that is fair and ensures equal treatment of all involved and guarantees that there is no favors shown and there is no one discriminated against.

The manager, by communicating the situation and reason for their being fired, ensured he was fair to them by being honest in his approach. He did not blame the situation on their incompetence or conduct himself in a way that would be dishonest.

Virtue approach: This approach caters to the morals and values that each one has in their heart and that each of us needs to emulate. It refers to the character of the individual who imbibes the said morals and values. Gardiner, P. (2003)
With reference to the case, the manager behaved in a way that was compassionate and resonated with the needs of his fellow co-workers.

Rights approach: This refers to the right that the victims have and suggests the path of action that will help result in the achievement of the rights

The employees had the right to know the reason for their losing of their jobs and the manager catered to this right by offering them the reason for his action

Utilitarian approach: This approach seeks to understand the outcome and find out what will help and what will cause problem so as to improve the result and ensure better consequence.

Instead of firing the employees and letting them fend for themselves, the manager chose to write a note of recommendation to ensure their future is taken care of.

Common good: This refers to the approach that helps reach the common good.Each action has a consequence and will impact oneself and the society.

The manager understood the impact that the action of retrenching 500 employees would have on the society and ensured their wellbeing regardless of how it would not leave him with any advantage.

2. How the approaches contribute to the overall wellbeing of the organization.

Solution: Each of the five approaches contributed to the wellbeing of the organization. As per research conducted, it has been concluded that when employees leave an organization, the morale of the employees left behind decreases. By ensuring that the employees are taken care of even when they have been fired, the manager, without intention, has ensured that the rest of the employees will put in their very best for the future of the organization.


Part B: Multiple Sclerosis Case study

Solutions: Executive summary: This case tries to understand the ethical dilemma between choosing to better the health of the people by providing effective medication or relying upon cost of the medication and the benefit it provides to the society to make the decision of whether to or not to release the medication which is apparently costing as high as 10,000 pounds per annum.

Question 1: Should the NHS approval of a new drug be based merely on clinical effectiveness or should it consider its cost effectiveness while realizing that the new beta interferon drug costs 10,000 pounds per year per patient who suffers from multiple sclerosis?

Solution: NHS approval of the drug should be based on clinical effectiveness and not on cost effectiveness.Based on the belief that one cannot put a price on anyone's life, it goes against the humanity when finding cost effectiveness of any person's illness.

Question 2: Is cost effectiveness criterion for the approval of a new drug a result of the focus on consequentialism or virtue approach?

Solution: Cost effectiveness criterion for the approval of a new drug is a result of consequentialism and not virtue approach. Consequentialism judges the morality of any action based on its consequences. By judging the criteria to give affordable healthcare to patients based on how cost effective it is, the researchers are analyzing the result and consequences and using it to take an action that they find suitable.

According to Gardiner, P. (2003), while dilemmas such as these can be analyzed most of the time by the use of the four principles while also paying attention to consequentialism, they cannot always be counted upon. Virtue ethics provides a platform which pays attention on the value of the person involved instead of how right the action is.


Question 3: Was the NHS delay to give a final decision a sign of any unethical attitudes or rather an ethical decision while considering the Multiple sclerosis patients overall rights to benefit from an available medication that has proven its efficacy in managing the complications of this chronic illness?

Solution: As suggested by the multiple sclerosis society, the author of this paper believes that the delay to give the final decision might be influenced by the oncoming elections. NHS delay went against all the five approaches to ethics. While they should have looked at the greater good of providing solace to those patients that have been stricken with pain and suffering and decided to alleviate their suffering by providing medicines that have been proven to reduce their suffering. Instead, in spite of research that suggested the benefits of using the medicine as well as the long term cost benefit by ensuring the health of the existing patients who would be able to contribute to the productivity of the society, the NHS decided to delay the availability of free medication to the patients on the grounds of requirement of more research while simultaneously trying to buy themselves time of 1 year which is long keeping in mind the incessant suffering of those people.

Part C: Is this considered discrimination? Why? Does this right grant the company any ethical stance knowing that some studies have been published in the literature predicating the existence of a relationship between age progression and decrease of workers capabilities such as speed Verhaegen and Salthouse (1997).

Solution: BDL Company HR Strategy of hiring employees who are below the age of 50 regardless of their qualifications, experience or skill is a very ageist idea and is likely to harm the company in the long run. It is considered discrimination. Since the company forms part of society and uses the resources that belong to the society, it has a moral obligation to give back to the society. By leaving out applications that fail to meet a certain criteria which does not include qualification and skills is the definition of discrimination.

While the company has the right to choose what is best for its shareholders, it can do so by keeping qualification, skills and experience in the forefront rather than dismissing them on account of their age. While there are literature available that support the relationship between age progression and decrease of workers capabilities, there are also literature available that support the hiring of qualified candidates over the age of 50. Recent studies conducted by Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, and Xu (2002) concluded that older workers were viewed as more warm, sincere in their efforts and good natured. These are qualities that make an employee an asset in a company.


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