Case for Seminars 2 and 3:
Stephen is a board director of StarAlphaMedicines, a multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in the UK. The company’s Research & Development department are working on a novel breast cancer drug. The drug could provide breakthrough treatment for millions of women in the company’s core markets in Europe and the US, and is likely to be a source of high revenue for StarAlphaMedicines, which has recently seen a fall in profits and a resulting drop in share price. To pass the approval process the company still needs to conduct further trials to test for the effectiveness and safety of the drug. However, in Europe these kinds of clinical trials are rather lengthy and very costly to conduct, due to the strict regulatory environment. In a board meeting, the CEO of StarAlphaMedicines suggests carrying out a large part of the trials in country X, a developing country in Asia, whose government provides more favourable conditions for clinical trials. The government of country X regards international drug trials as a cheap way of providing treatment for poor people who cannot afford to buy drugs or other kinds of medical treatment. Also, in X a significant proportion of poor women suffer from breast cancer and therefore it will be relatively easy to recruit participants for the trial. The company has no plans to make the drug available below market price in X after its approval. Also, at the current stage of the drug’s development the Research & Development department cannot yet rule out the occurrence of harmful side effects, even though they believe that the likelihood of this happening is very low. Should Stephen endorse the CEO’s suggestion?
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