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Moral Theory, Depression, and the Medication

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By vincejai
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Pages 5
Moral Theory, Depression, and the Medication
By: Vincent Vuong (20315765)
3B Environment and Business

Depression is a condition where the patient is in a constant state of unhappiness. It is like a parasite that slowly consumes life. It eats away at members of society, and debilitates them. Thus, victims of this condition are unable to enjoy the beauties of life and engage the things they love; Business decreases in efficiency because of increased absenteeism; and in severe cases, patients commit suicide. This issue was addressed and a successful solution was found. Our pharmaceutical company has synthesized a drug that can help patients deal with the symptoms of severe depression. A lot of money has been put into research and development, and with a 99% success rate it is very likely that this medication will become the main treatment for depression. However, the remaining 1% will have an increase in the negative symptoms which can lead to suicide. The company needs to decide whether or not it is a good idea to release this medication, but the board is having a hard time coming to an agreement. The issue of that 1% is still a consequence that stands out to people.
The company has a few options in its current situation. The first option would be to go on ahead with the release of the medication and deal with the consequences as they come, because they have already invested so much money into research, and the treatment is mostly successful. The second option would be to postpone the release and conduct more research before an official release, to see if they can find what causes patients to respond negatively to the treatment, but that would cost more money and time. Lastly would be to just scrap the medication and find another way to battle the symptoms of depression, but there would no one that will react negatively to the drug. By going through the different moral theories, we can find a good solution without jeopardizing our own morality.
In Teleology, people believe that humans should behave rationally and pursue our own well-being and flourishing. They stress a lot on characteristics that make someone virtuous, and believe that they need to become that virtuous person to reach human perfectability. Applying teleology to the moral dilemma that the company is facing would come up with an uncertain path. By asking the short-term question “What would a virtuous person do?” there is no clear answer, because of the vague definition of virtue. Virtue is often relative, which means that it varies between culture to culture and person to person. In this sense the problem would be if not giving the medication and saving that 1% is virtuous or is going ahead and releasing the medication to save the 99% virtuous. Teleology also expresses the need for self-realization, if we were to not release the drug soon, we may start to lose money and credibility. However, Teleologist really stresses the virtue of education, and on how to become a more virtuous. By researching and developing the drug more, it may be possible to create a new drug that is 100% successful with no serious side effects. Teleology would not really be a great help in determining which path should be taken. But if one path needed to be decided by teleology it would be to: Go ahead with the release, and continue the research and development so that one percent can be cancelled.
Deontology is the study of duty. In the deontological train of thought, the essence of morality lies in adhering to duty. Deontology falls into two categories, Religious and Secular. Because the moral dilemma at hand is not to do with religion we will apply the Categorical Imperative to analyze the situation. Under the universality test, we could never release the medication because there would always be one person that did not agree with the medication. Thus, it would never pass the universality test. So under the deontological moral theory, it would tell the company to completely boycott the drug until we can come up with one that is 100% successful, or in this case until everyone will agree that what we are doing is ok.
Under Consequentialism, it is our consequences that matter the most. It is result driven, and dismissive of intent. The only things that matters to consequentialism are the objective results. The school of thought known as utilitarianism is a prime example of consequentialism. The slogan to follow was “The greatest happiness for the greatest number”, which means to make the world a better place in a demonstrable, measureable way. In order to make the world a better place, there needs to be more utility in the world. Utility is the happiness or joy that you gain from consuming something. If you apply consequentialism to our moral dilemma, it would tell us to immediately produce this drug so we can provide the most utility to the most people. According to the research, there would be 99% more pleasure than the 1% of hurt if the drug is released.
Lastly, Rights Based Moral theorist believes that rights are the essence of morality, as long as you do not violate someone’s right means you are moral. Under this moral theory, the company is free to do which ever option they want. None of the options will violate anyone’s right. The only right that may be violated is the second generation right to basic preventative health care. But what the medication falls into can be debated once the drug is released.
In my opinion, I would immediately release the medication. In doing so we could generate revenue that could fund further research. This research may be able to find a better alternative, and rehabilitation treatments for those who have suffered from negative side effects. The drug will help more people than it can hurt, and those who feel the negative side effects will receive help for rehabilitation, and must stop the medication at once. This dilemma is one that a lot of pharmaceutical companies face, because medications can help but often lead to numerous negative side effects. My choice comes from a mixture of the moral theories. In my mind, I would like to help others but I feel that if I am powerless, then my intentions to help are merely just dreams. That is why I would help the people I can immediately help first by releasing the medicine, which will give me the ability to research because of the increase in funds. I don’t believe morality is a theory; it is the choice of what kind of person you want to be which varies person to person.…...

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