Mykon’s Dilemma When I discovered the cure for AIDS, I was so excited. I was finally going to make medical history and I was going to be known for saving so many lives. I never thought I would be sitting before this board about to make the hardest decision of my life. As you all know there are pressures from every angle for me to make a decision that is best for our company and for the whole world. I wish that I could say that this decision is easy, like every other medication decision we have made in the past.
I am regretful that I will not be able to make everyone happy and that I feel I have been given the power to determine who will live and who will not. I have come to the decision that I will only release 85% percent of the available Sprattalin and will scale back the production so that in time we will be able to help more people. The focus of this medication, at this time, will be only on those patients who are asymptomatic HIV positive. These patients will see the most benefits and will be an asset to the society and economy.
Since I became CEO, I have made it my mission to do what is best not only for our company, but for our consumers and the help in the world that we currently do not help. So many of us have different ideas and suggestions as to how we could and should distribute Sprattalin. I understand all the ideas and angles that have been presented here, but I feel that we need to keep in line with the mission of this company. I personally follow the theorist Immanuel Kant. Kant is the founder of Kantian Ethics, which believes that everyone should be bound by the same duties and rules.
There are three principles associated with this theory; Universizability, respect for people, and categorical imperatives. The jest of it is that you have to be able to accept and comply with the same rules that you would put on everyone else. I wish that I could follow this theory in my business practice, but I simply cannot. I have to think about everyone involved, including my shareholders and stakeholders of the company. In this particular situation I would follow John Rawls’ theory of Egalitarianism. This particular theory is about equality.
He has three main principles under this theory; Veil of Ignorance, Equal Opportunity, and Difference Principle. It is the Difference Principle that I am applying to this situation. I cannot help everyone that I would like, but giving those that cannot afford the medication some, is better than giving them none. I have been presented with a global summary of the HIV/AIDS epidemic as of December 2007. The numbers that I have received do not indicate how many of the people living with the disease in 2007 have HIV or full blown AIDS.
I will only distribute to the Asymptomatic HIV patients, because they have the greatest chance of living a normal life expectancy. This is the Utilitarian theory, but as I cannot help everyone that I would like, it is not the main theory that can be used to support my decision. I know that many will not agree with this, but will distribute Sprattalin in a manner that will try to take care of everyone. I will first increase the prices by $2. 00 for all over-the-counter medications that we sell. I will then raise the costs of our prescription medications by two percent.
The extra proceeds that are generated by the slight price increase will in effect subsidize the costs of Sprattalin that will be given away to low-income and third world countries. I would like to first start selling Sprattalin in the United States and Europe. These two places can afford to purchase our medications and try to help recoup the amount spent on research and development. I will not allow all of the available medication to go to these countries. I know it costs us $20,000 to produce one dosage of the medication and we will sell it for $80,000 in those two countries.
I know that this is a steep price, but if countries are willing to pay way more than that for Sprattalin, then I want us to be able to help more people. Two months after the release in the United States and in Europe, I will start to release it to lower income countries. Africa unfortunately will be the last. They have the highest infected population, but are the poorest region. I know that many countries have tried to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in that region and they seem to still spread it to more people than die every year. They need additional help to ease the number of people becoming infected.
Once Africa begins to receive Sprattalin, some of it will have to be paid for, but most of theirs will come from the price increases of the other medications that we sell. This is so that we can maintain our mission of helping the most people, but maintaining our profits to ensure that our investors stay happy. The reason behind not providing Sprattalin to full blown AIDS patients is because, I can only help fewer of those people and those people have already been battling it for years. I feel great sympathy for these people and wish that I could help, but I want to help as many people as possible.
I know that if I was one of those patients who could have benefited from Sprattalin, I will be pushing to supply me the medication and save my life. I cannot hide behind John Rawls veil of ignorance, because I do not have AIDS or HIV and I cannot imagine what those people are going through. My choices came from several factors that are prevalent to the determination of distribution. First was the company profits, without the investors, I would not have been able to make the discovery, but to the investors, I only ask for patience as this company deals with the costs and losses that may occur.
We will find a way to create this medication in the lab so that the costs can be reduced and so that we can produce more Sprattalin. Cultural environment is also prevalent in this decision, because Africa, which in not only the most infected and the poorest, but they are the least educated on the spread of the disease and the ways to prevent transmission of the disease. In 2007 1. 7 million people were infected and 1. 6 million people died from it. I believe that this area of the world needs more help than we, as a company, can provide.
I know that discussing Africa in this manner may seem bias to some of you, but it is the cold hard facts, upon which I relied my decision. Mykon has responsibility to try to provide to everyone in the world the lifesaving medication, and though personally I really want to help those in the lower-income countries with the highest rates, I have to think about the longevity of the company, which employs a lot of people. It is here where I had to determine what corporate social responsibility our company will commit to.
I know that Milton Freidman would say that I should only think about the company and the company’s profits, but at the same time I want to help everyone. It is for all of these reasons that I have chosen to provide the medication to those patients whom are asymptomatic HIV and not to those who are full blown. Hopefully throughout the next few years, our company will be able to come up with a way to generate more of the medication. The 15% of the available medication that I am keeping for the company is to be used to help regenerate the fungi growth, so that in three years we still have the medication to pass around.