Should we treat abuses and unethical behavior in the U.S. drug industry and our entire health care industry differently than we do in the banking industry or auto industry?
As long as the abuses and unethical behavior are of the same sort, they should be treated similarly in all of these industries. There are only two reasons why it would be logical to treat abuses in the different industries differently. One reason would be if they had a different impact on their immediate victims. The second would be if they had a different impact on the country. For the most part, these criteria are not met and we should treat abuses in the same way across all of these industries.
It is possible that some unethical behavior should be treated more harshly in the health care and auto industries because it has a different impact on its immediate victims. Unethical behavior in the drug or auto industries, for example, could lead to substandard products that could physically harm or even kill victims. Unethical behavior in the banking business is much less likely to do this. It might make sense to punish the unethical behavior that causes physical harm more harshly than that which causes only financial harm.
In terms of overall impact on the US, there is not much difference between these industries. Unethical behavior in the health care or drug industries can lead to spiraling costs which threaten our economic stability. However, we have also seen, during the “Great Recession,” that abuses in the banking and auto industry could be very dangerous to our economy. Therefore, abuses or unethical behavior in all of these areas seem to have relatively similar abilities to harm our nation’s economy.
For these reasons, I would argue that we should not single out the drug or health care industry and say that all abuses in that industry are more important than those in the auto or banking industries.