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Merck is a giant drug company in the US that has been recently caught in the act of trying to defraud the medical fraternity with the involvement of its in house doctors who posed as Independent Scientists in an investigation into the safety of a drug named Vioxx that has been on the limelight for all the wrong reasons. In his testimony, Graham, a senior drug safety researcher observed that Vioxx had killed over 50,000 Americans and caused over 100,000 heart attacks (Adams).

Misused Data

Since this company had data that included feedback from clients who had been affected by the negative side effects of the drug in question, the management should have worked on making the drug safer. However, its senior management tried to hide the truth so as to win the approval of FDA which is the biggest drug safety agency in the US. The truth of the fraud came into the picture following lawsuits by people who had been affected by the fake drugs.

The results

After it became pretty obvious that Merck was engaging in a mud smearing campaign to discredit the media, the company went ahead to seek immunity from lawsuits. The company also voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the market citing cardiovascular risks which it had initially denied (Kaufman, 2004). As a result Merck has lost its credibility as a genuine drug manufacturing company and this has led to lower business profits and associations. Merck had to part with  $670 Million as fine for Medical fraud (Comer, 2008).


Limitations and significance of the data

Merck engaged in a dire effort to change the label of the drug so as to remove uncertainty over the negative effects of the drug. The company trained the marketers to encourage doctors to provide any issue relating to the drug in a written form so that the management would work on them. This meant that Merck had concealed all the evidence. The significance of this was so that the public would have no idea of the kind of business that Merck engaged in which later on leaked in to the public limelight.


Ethical implications

Merck’s aim was to increase sales and not to educate the public on the negative effects of the drug (Kaufman, 2004).  This is an ethical dilemma that Merck did not address and instead trained its sales team to boost the sales of the drug despite their full knowledge about the negative effects of the drug. As a result therefore, congress observed that there was need to give FDA more powers to regulate the drug business in the US. The revelation of the on-going fraud has led to a bad reputation of this one time big company. 

Role of decision making in business

Decision making refers to the act of coming up with an informed conclusion basing on the facts and opinions collected regarding a given issue. It is important in business since it not only acts as the basis of action but encourages progress as well. For instance, if Merck’s Board of Directors made the right decision basing on the information they had about the drug, the company would have progressed to amazing heights. Further, decision making helps in enhancing efficiency of staff and management basing on the available strategies and policies.

Roles of emotion and fairness in decision making

Emotions play a major role in decision making as it is the thin line that separates logical thinking from emotional decision making. More often than not we fail to recognize the role of emotion in decision making yet it is a reality that we cannot divorce from the decision making process (Dirk). Fairness on the hand is a question of morality which is equally important in decision making. Many business leaders will make decisions that are fair to their clients in order to avoid losing business. If at all business managers in Merck made their decisions basing on emotion and fairness, chances are very high that they would not have been caught red handed in the fraud mess.


Business organizations should be able to engage its management in serious decision making training that will seek to sell the corporate image of an organization in a rather positive way. In order to avoid such cases like the one that faced Merck, business leaders should be able to instill professional ethics as well as critical thinking in running the business organization. 

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