This one-credit course draws on current debates about ethical practice within the pharmaceutical industry with an eye toward wider questions about corporations, the politics of regulation, and social responsibility.
Major topics include: A perceived “ethics problem” within the pharmaceutical industry, critiques of industry’s relationship with the FDA, post-Vioxx concerns about drug safety, statutes shielding drug companies from civil liability (lawsuits), direct-to consumer advertising, direct-to-physician advertising (e.g., “drug reps,” etc.), industry-funded research and medical journals, the role of consumer and patient advocacy as responses to perceived problems.
The course will include brief video excerpts and guest speakers, including representatives from industry, pharmacology, medicine, law, and patient advocacy.
Requirements include attending class meetings and completing a series of one-page assignments. Students who want to explore these issues in greater depth (and receive 3 credits in total) may consider also taking RCIDIV 351.001: “Research Seminar on Ethics, Politics, and the Pharmaceutical Industry.” The research seminar supplements the mini-course for interested students, but it is perfectly fine to take only the mini-course.