What is the concept and importance of the issue explained in the Merck & Co. Story in the textbook Business, Government, and Society 13th edition by steiner and steiner
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The concept and importance of Merck & Co. story explained in the textbook Business, Government, and Society 13th edition.
The story of Merck & Co is the best example of Corporate social responsibility. The story tells about an infection called river blindness or onchocerciasis. It is caused be a parasitic worm when bitten by black flies near the river some immature larvae settle in tissue near the bite and form colonies. These worms mate and release tens of thousands of microscopic new larvae that again migrate to a skin of a human being.These parasites moved to eyes causing full blindness. There were many people who suffered from this and were living their lives like that but some lost their homes and were forced to suicide. Around 18 million people suffered from river blindness in tropical areas of Africa, South America, and Yemen. In 1975 scientists at Merck & Co. discovered compounds that were able to kill animal parasites. By 1981 they marketed the product for deworming dogs, cattle, sheep and pigs. The product was named Ivermectin at that time. The Merck’s researchers had an idea to use this product on human against river blindness parasite also. The researchers needed to do some changes in the product to make it work on humans that would be very expensive to manufacture. At that time the people who were affected by this worm were living in village areas that were not so developed. So they didn’t have much money to buy the products. It was an important question for a company to manufacture a product whose demand is only by the poor section of an area of South Africa and Yemen. George W. Merck, son of Merck’s founder, once said: “We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear.” These motivational lines are followed by every employee and scientists of Merck. This humanitarian goal of manufacturing the product for the good of the society was welcomed by everyone. The total cost of manufacturing would be around $200 million. The manufacturing was done and was a success, a single dose of 150 micrograms per kilogram of body weight reduced the burden of tiny worms to zero. But the product was costly and the people in need could afford them and the government was equally poor in that situation. In 1987 Merck bore all the cost of manufacturing to shipping and moving to the people in need. Since then the Merck’s have given away 2.5 billion tablets in 37 countries at a cost of $3.9 billion. By 2012 river blindness in six Latin American countries was completed cured. Merck Co. was a new company in the drug industry and to do such a thing in the name of humanity was brilliant.
The importance of this story was that every human being has a responsibility towards every individual in need, whether family or not. The company is an artificial person who is also enslaved with some social responsibilities towards the people around it and also towards the people in need. Merck’s Co. is an extraordinary example of social responsibility towards society. Nowadays, Companies are more focused on marketing and advertising using lots of money, but they forget about giving something back to the society. It is important for companies to understand this responsibility. It is not a choice but their core values that they have to carry their business on.