Good Research Paper About An Analysis Of Lundbeck Inc. Ethical Dilemma

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Ethics, Company, Drugs, Criminal Justice, Crime, Punishment, Business, Dilemma

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2020/11/28

Analysis of Lundbeck Inc. ethical dilemma

Business and commerce industries assist in the establishment of a country’s economy. Indeed, they are the agencies of monetary exchange at both the local and the international spheres. Economists draw significant wealth of knowledge of market trends from the businesses. The rise and fall of firms influence the health of a country’s economy. In the course of work, enterprises face various challenges. Incidentally, some of the problems facing companies involve ethical concerns. Ideally, these ethical conflicts are called ethical dilemmas. The question of ethics is paramount to any firm. Ethics states the bounds of acceptable and unacceptable practices. This paper describes an ethical dilemma facing a Danish Pharmaceutical Company called Lundbeck Inc.
According to Ong et al., ethical dilemma is a situation that requires one to choose between two or more morally acceptable or equally unacceptable options. Ideally, the ethical dilemmas involve mutually exclusive situations or choices. Certainly, this means the choice of one option excludes the other (Ong et al., 2012). Lo asserts that one of the primary roots of ethical dilemmas are situations in there is justification for conflicting courses of action (Lo, 2009).

A description of the situation

Lundbeck Inc. is the primary manufacturer of the pentobarbital sold in the US. Apparently, the drug is being used for lethal injections in death penalty executions in the US. Previously, the executioners used to inject sodium thiopental (Death Penalty Information Centre, 2015). The reason for the change was the closing down of Hospira. Hospira had started running short of sodium thiopental in the summer of 2010. Consequently, in January 2011, Hospira closed shop and moved its operations to Italy. Interestingly, Italy, forbade the use of sodium thiopental for executions. Lundbeck Inc. became the sole manufacturer of the drug because of Britain’s ban on the production and circulation of sodium thiopental. This turn-around sent the countries using it into an incessant and a desperate scramble for the drug (Schultz, 2011).
Lundbeck Inc. has repeatedly objected the use of pentobarbital in the executions. According to Andrew Schroll, Lundbeck Inc. spokesman, the use of pentobarbital in executions is a misuse of the product (Death Penalty Information Centre, 2015). Apparently, pentobarbital has medical benefits and application. For example, pentobarbital is used in the treatment of severe seizures resulting from posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome (Corsi et al., 2014). In addition, the drug can be used as an anesthesia. As well, it can be used for administering euthanasia to animals (Schultz, 2011). Lundbeck Inc., European Union, and Denmark are opposed to death penalties. According to Mr. Schroll, the company maintains its stand on capital punishment in all its outlets both in the US and Denmark (Schultz, 2011).
According to a report by Schultz, several executions had been conducted using this drug. For example, convicted killer Benny Stevens was executed in Parchman State Penitentiary in Mississippi using a lethal injection of pentobarbital. Apparently, the pentobarbital employed in Benny’s execution was a product of Lundbeck Inc. (Schultz, 2011).

The ethical considerations involved

Thus, the dilemma facing Lundbeck Inc. is whether to continue availing the drug in the market. The drug is saving people’s lives on one hand while taking it away from the other. Indeed, availing the drug would mean it is vulnerable to the continued use of capital punishment. At the same time, it would imply benefit for patients who need it to survive. On the other hand, entirely withdrawing it from the market or stopping its production would have mixed effects.
Lundbeck Inc. received letters from doctors pleading with the firm not to withdraw its 50 million annual supplies of the dosage (Schultz, 2011). A censure would be an active and loud show of Lundbeck Inc. apathy to capital punishment. Meanwhile, many people would suffer or possibly die.

How the firm handled the dilemma

The foreign ministry of Denmark has made efforts to pursue the issue through its contacts. In addition, the company tried to come up with measures that could regulate the trade of the drug. For example, the company attempted to set policies governing who is entitled to buy the drug and for what purpose. Indeed, this situation poses a challenge to Lundbeck Inc. since it requires them to make either a moral choice or an economic choice (Schultz, 2011).

Alternatives for handling Lundbeck Inc. dilemma

Lundbeck Inc. dilemma can be poses various modes of treatment. According to Maya, Lundbeck Inc. can withdraw itself from the death penalty business. She points that manufactures effectively do it.Maya was a member of Reprieve, a London-based human rights group. According to Maya, Lundbeck Inc. can handle the situation by using Specialty Pharmacies. Accordingly, Specialty Pharmacies are outlets whose precise purpose is to sell products that have restrictions. Ideally, they bring with them the advantage of monitoring by the manufacturers. Apparently, Schroll said that Lundbeck Inc. had looked into the option but to no avail (Schultz, 2011).
Again, this matter can be set forth in the public domain for public engagement and opinions. Perhaps the public will provide significant thrust to the plea for policy and legal restructuring about capital punishment (Schultz, 2011).
It is important for companies to have policies and systems, which address possible ethical issues. Additionally, the firms should ensure proper and adequate training of their staff on how to resolve the ethical dilemmas beforehand. Indeed, this can be achieved by resolving the dilemmas that arise in the daily activities of the firm (Ong et al. 2012).
In addition, Lundbeck could seek advice from other companies not necessarily producing drugs. According to Lo, the study of realistic cases involving ethical dilemmas can provide significant lessons. Indeed, at times people may become perplexed about difficult decisions and fail to recognize them early enough as ethical in nature (Lo, 2009). Thus, Lundbeck Inc. can conduct studies of other firms facing similar ethical dilemmas and so draw points of learning from them.

What I would have done

The scenario of Lundbeck Inc. poses an interesting dilemma. If I were the representative of CEO of the company, I would lobby for the enactment of legislation that prohibits death penalties altogether. Indeed, this would require the company to participate in ventures that reproach capital punishment. Certainly, this would be the best alternative.
I would establish strict supply chains for the product. The supply outlets would take after mobile and electronic companies. We would develop codes and guidelines that define the type of stores to work with us. Ideally, we would conduct vetting exercises for all institutions and companies wishing to sell the pentobarbital. Accordingly, we would give authorization for sale of the product only to the entities that qualify.
More importantly, I would design contracts that define the terms of engagement between Lundbeck Inc. and its distributors. Indeed, the contract would contain statements of our values and company philosophy. Precisely, the contract would outline the limits of right and wrong use of the drug. Indeed, they would reflect the company ethical policies and guidelines. Ethical guidelines and policies inform choices and act as a basis for the justification of particular courses of action (Lo, 2009).
As well, I would develop a reward system that encourages responsible users who meet our conditions. For instance, those who use the drug for medical and research would get higher priority.Moreover, we would conduct market research among the prisons to establish the rates and trends of the drug use. Indeed, this would require well-structured and highly secretive research. Ideally, we would not want the research to be visible to the prisons for its effectiveness.

Reasons for my response

The reason for lobbying for the abolition of the death penalty is to avoid the misuse of the product. Chief in this scenario is the fact that the main misusers of the drug are government departments. Certainly, the justification for developing a contract is to have a binding agreement between the Lundbeck Inc. and the suppliers. Hence, the contracts would give a legal backing. Therefore, in case a supplier would infringe any of the terms of the agreement, Lundbeck Inc. would have legal rights of terminating its associations. Indeed, the agreement would facilitate legal redress for the company. In addition, the establishment of our accredited distributors would help us build trust with our suppliers. Indeed, these dealers would fall under the company’s purview in situations that involve pentobarbital. As well, I would establish close communication contacts with our direct clients to keep an eye on the movements of our products. Certainly, this will require regular communication.


Corsi E, Sathishkumar S, Shah RA, Kadry Z, McQuillan PM, Vaida SJ, Bezinover DS. (2014). Prolonged pentobarbital-induced coma for the treatment of severe seizures related to posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome. PubMed. 3, 149-52.
Death Penalty Information Centre. (2015). Sole provider of New drug for U.S. executions Faces Ethical Dilemma. Retrieved February 25, 2015 from
Lo, B. (2009). Resolving ethical dilemmas: a guide for clinicians. Minnesota: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Ong, W. Y., Yee, C. M., & Lee, A. (2012). Ethical dilemmas in the care of cancer patients near the end of life. Singapore medical journal, 53(1), 11-16.
Schultz, T. (2011, May 13) Europe fights the death penalty - with drugs. The Global Post.

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