Pfizer's vice president of Marketing,
Peter Rost's Views on Drug Reimportation
First things first, we must define what we mean by "ethics." Ethics, a set of principles of right conduct or a system of moral values, is often summarized by this phrase, "doing what is right." It's Gardner and Burns (1978) who have stressed the centrality and importance of the moral dimension of leadership. Gardner said that leaders ultimately must be judged on the basis of a framework of values. (Values are defined as "constructs representing generalized behaviors or states of affairs that are considered by the individual to be important." A good example of the demonstration of ethical values would be the recent action by Pfizer vice president who broke ranks with the drug companies. He made his views known about the issues of drug reimportation at a lower cost to the consumer. In a letter to lawmakers, Charles Hardwick, senior vice president of governmental affairs at Pfizer, blasted Peter Rost, vice president for marketing at Pfizer. Mr. Rost had the courage to come forward with this information. He said that U.S. drug industry has misled the public by exaggerating the danger of imported drugs. Rost is a lone ranger who is taking on his own company, Pfizer, the manufacturer of Viagra, Zoloft and Lipitor. The drug makers quickly counter that reimportation would not lower prices and that consumers could be exposed to dangerous ineffective counterfeit drugs. If he wants to create a marketing buzz for Pfizer, Mr. Peter Rost has done just that. However, his days may be numbered at the giant pharmaceutical firm. Is it ethical to mislead the public about the "danger" of reimported drugs which tend to be cheaper and more affordable?