Corporate social responsibility is an initiative of a business organisation to examine and take responsibility for the effects made by the firm on the social and environmental wellbeing. It is also known as corporate citizenship. It involves experiencing short-term costs, which do not offer an instant economic benefit to the firm. However, it makes positive change to the environment and the society (Tai & Chuang, 2014). There is a long history behind the concept of corporate social responsibility that is linked with the way it affects organisational behaviour. The history of CSR highlights how the scholars and business leaders have struggled to outline and theorise CSR (Suliman, Al-Khatib, & Thomas, 2016). After the World War II, the concern related to business and future of the economic system increased (Cebcglobal.org, 2017).
The fundamental theme of the CSR concept is that the social accountabilities are social forces functioning in all society-making businesses to perform in a positive way. This is true irrespective of whether it is an industrial or a communalist society because the social forces are always present there. Based on the on-going environmental and social problems, CSR has been encouraged by the national and global bodies to obtain values of sustainable development at the organisational level (Turker, 2015).
The features of pharmaceutical industry imply a greater risk of dishonesty with a notable mutilation for the industry, the society, and the healthcare system. The pharmaceutical sector has a vital role for a comprehensive salvage of efficiency in the healthcare sector. A number of international institutions interfered with models of moral code that denote the minimum ethical values the companies should reverence to reach decent ethical goals. At present, most of the pharmaceutical firms have a well-managed ethical code of conduct. However, it often seems not to indulge in corporate actions ethically or precisely sharing urgencies in the triple bottom line(Salvioni & Gennari, 2015). CSR of the pharmaceutical industry is quite distinct from the CSR in other sectors, as the main product, medicine and drugs are important for the welfare of the society. With the increasing pressure of the civil society, it has become essential for the pharmaceutical firms to act responsibly in the rapidly changing globalised world. Therefore, many of the firms are expanding or reforming their CSR strategies to avoid ethical issues (Droppert, 2015).
Like any other major businesses, the pharmaceutical business is also in continuous inspection of the method it deploys to conduct its activities. Most of the companies face the issue of not meeting the ethical standards set by the law. Medicines manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies are an important part of the effective healthcare service delivery system. Media often reveals the negative or ineffective activities of the industry that ruins their public image and trust. Unfair and unfavourable headlines have become unavoidable for the pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, its efforts to counter the problems must be a higher importance for the industry. The industry faces issue in ignoring the perception of the public, as good healthcare is an important obligation the government and the pharmaceutical industries owe the society and judgment of people directly affect the policies of the government. For instance, the US pensioners team AARP suspected certain pharmaceutical firms of exploiting front groups, which supposed to show the aging and released posts that preferred the viewpoint of the diligence on issues like pricing. Such kind of rights often receives foremost attention in the media. Thus, it leads to damaging the image of the pharmaceutical industry highly among the public (Chan, Cheah, & Montanheiro, 2016). It is often alleged that the pharmaceutical industry is using CSR for popularizing their products, brand, and increase their profits, which is also an important issue faced by the company (Pharmiweb.com, 2017).
Pricing is one of the major issues faced by the pharmaceutical industry. In Australia, 71% pharmaceutical companies think that the price disclosure calculation of the government has become more transparent than 2012. However, there is a need of self-governing corroboration of calculations. Some firms believe that no more price reduction can be maintained and their market share will be battered under the simplified price disclosure (Pwc.com.au, 2017).
Poor scientific production is another important CSR issue that has an impact on the health of the service users. The industry has persisted at the same level for the past years. Utilisation of the same discovering and progress processes has made it growth and productivity slower (PwC., 2017).
The damaged image of the pharmaceutical industry in the media often overshadows the vital role played by the industry in research and development for discovering new medicines. Many of the chronic diseases that had a devastating impact on the society previously, are now controlled well. Here, the credit goes to the pharmaceutical industry’s effort. This effort is being taken for granted because of the CSR issues faced by the industry (Pharmiweb.com, 2017). One of the greatest condemnations beside CSR is pharmaceutical firms are only concerned with CSR for enhancing their marketing image. Issues related to CSR create notable business risks. Customers and firms tend to avoid companies that grow an unscrupulous reputation. Moreover, firms that are not concerned with their moral duties are more expected to submit into ethical problems like, accounting outrages, mass exploitation and so on (Business.time.com, 2017).
An example of the CSR issue faced by the pharmaceutical industry is the issues faced by Martin Shkreli, who is known for Turing Pharmaceuticals, Retrophin. Martin Shkreli was accused for several number of guilt and fraud related to securities. One of the CSR issues he faced in 2015, when he increased the price of lifesaving drugs by above 5000%. He had to give $5million bail for avoiding 20years of imprisonment (Mangan, 2017).
In a pharmaceutical firm, staffs are also consumers on the outside of the company and they seek for medicines that are available at an affordable price. Therefore, they are interested in the global issues related to CSR in the pharmaceutical industry. They have their own point of view on operational process of the firm in a global context. It provides greater opportunity to the people who are involved in making CSR strategies for the pharmaceutical companies to identify the important CSR issues. In order to increase the visibility of a firm, it is important to involve in social works, fulfil the responsibilities toward the society by improving access to life-saving medicines, and providing training to the communities regarding the precautions of some diseases like HIV, Dengue, and others (Brewer, 2014).
Pharmaceutical companies must take a more noticeable development on global issues. The companies can join with the non-profit and charitable health and social care organisations for supporting their actions related to the welfare of the community. At present day, companies cannot avoid their CSR responsibilities and therefore, they must implement effective CSR strategies that fulfil both the commercial and social objectives. It can be done by increasing involvement of the community and the stakeholders in organisational decision-making. They must demonstrate that the pharmaceutical companies are an important part of the health care system and they play a vital role in the welfare and development of the global healthcare system.
Brewer, K. M. (2014). Corporate social responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry–Why it matters from business, bioethical and social perspectives. North Carolina: Wake Forest University.
Business.time.com. (2017). Retrieved September 13 , 2017, from Why Companies Can No Longer Afford to Ignore Their Social Responsibilities | TIME.com.: https://business.time.com/2012/05/28/why-companies-can-no-longer-afford-to-ignore-their-social-responsibilities/
Cebcglobal.org. (2017). Retrieved September 13, 2017, from Cebcglobal.org: https://www.cebcglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/CSR-The_Shape_of_a_History.pdf
Droppert, H. &. (2015). Corporate social responsibility in global health: An exploratory study of multinational pharmaceutical firms. Globalization and health, 11 (1), 15.
Mangan, D. (2017). Cnbc.com. Retrieved September 13, 2017, from Pharma bro' Martin Shkreli found guilty of 3 of 8 charges, including securities fraud. CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/04/pharma-bro-martin-shkreli-convicted-in-federal-fraud-case.html
Pharmiweb.com. (2017). Retrieved September 13, 2017, from Why corporate social responsibility is healthy for pharma - Feature | PharmiWeb.com.: https://www.pharmiweb.com/features/feature.asp?ROW_ID=630#.WbmBEciGPIU
Salvioni, D. M., & Gennari, F. &. (2015). Corporate responsibility and ethical culture in pharmaceutical industry.
Turker, D. (2015). An analysis of corporate social responsibility in the Turkish business context. In Corporate Social Responsibility in Europe . Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
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