Ethical issues encountered by the GE Healthcare
The GE healthcare is recognized for their contribution in transformational medical technologies as well as services, which is shaping the new era of medical care. The broad expertise of this healthcare may includes drug discovery, medical diagnosis, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies etc. In the 1990s, the GE Healthcare made the first attempt to prepare an ultrasound machine, which is inexpensive. However, when GE developed their dream product and started marketing their product extensively, the company started facing many ethical issues.
From the case study, it is found that there are mainly two ethical issues faced by the company. First of all the effect of aggressive marketing of inexpensive ultrasound machine and secondly the illegal use of the ultrasound machine produced by the GE Healthcare by the third party. According to aaa, it is found that gender selection is very popular business in India as well as in China and this business is thriving on the supply of cheap ultrasound machines. The extensive business of GE Healthcare in India and China caused death of more than 50 million female fetuses. It is also observed that the GE Healthcare failed to tightened their sale process, which results in the misuse of ultrasound machine by the third parties (other than registered healthcare personals).
To recover from the situation it can be recommended that the company needs to admit their responsibility of causing death of female fetus in the third worlds and higher the price of their product. Secondly the Healthcare can tighten their selling process so that only registered healcare personnels can have access to the machine.
The professional and applied ethics breached by the GE Healthcare
From the provided case study, it is observed that the GE Healthcare developed cheapest Venue 40 and sold it for minimum of $ 20,000 (Sabino et al., 2013). The first cheapest product was first developed in China and then distributed in different third world countries. Although the GE Healthcare targeted to market the cheapest ultrasound machine in the third world country in order to help the health care centers in the those countries, they neglected the ethical issues that could be faced by the company. According to Schleder et al., (2013), it is observed that any health care system needs to evaluate the consequences of launching their product in the market. However, the GE Healthcare failed to meet their professional ethics. It is well versed that most of the third world countries, especially China and India have male dominated societies. Therefore, before launching less expensive ultrasound machine the GE Healthcare needed to evaluate the target market and ensure the safe use of their newly launched products. According to the professional ethics, the responsibility for misuse of the products goes to the manufacturing company. According to the case study, he GE Healthcare indeed breached the professional as well as applied ethics.
After reviewing marketing strategies of other companies, who successfully launched their product (ultrasound machine) in India and China, it is found that their product is as efficient as the GE healthcare (Hammoudi et al., 2013). However, their product is not very cheap as marketed by the GE Healthcare. Most of the ultrasound machines manufactured by the other companies (Samsung, Silverline Meditech, Atico Medical Private Limited etc.) are selling their product for a minimum of 2 Lakh, which is neither very cheap nor too high priced (Ross et al., 2013). The machines produced by these companies are not reported to be misused. Therefore, the GE Healthcare needs to follow the marketing strategies taken by these companies in order to maintain the applied and professional ethics.
The responsibilities of the GE Healthcare on the issue of preference for male children in the developing countries
The mission of GE Healthcare is to provide better care of the world in minimum cost. In addition, this company has partnered with healthcare leaders in order to be a part of the global policy, which are necessary to implement a better and sustainable health care system (Www3.gehealthcare.com, 2016). The vision of this company is “healthymagination” for the world to join them in the journey to create better health equipments in lower cost and improving the quality care around the world (Www3.gehealthcare.com, 2016). However, according to the case study the GE Healthcare failed to control the misuse of their ultrasound machine in the developing countries. GE Healthcare needs to take their responsibilities and control their products to be misused by the third parties (Barr, 2013). The company cannot change the mentality of the people of the society, but can ensure that their product is in “safe hand.”
The company can address the local NGOs and work with them in order to avoid the raising ethical problems. On the other hand, the GE Healthcare can restrict their advertisement, which will in turn will less attract the “third parties” and reduce the malpractice.
Barr, R. G. (2013). Off-label use of ultrasound contrast agents for abdominal imaging in the United States. Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, 32(1), 7-12.
Hammoudi, N., Arangalage, D., Boubrit, L., Renaud, M. C., Isnard, R., Collet, J. P., ... & Duguet, A. (2013). Ultrasound-based teaching of cardiac anatomy and physiology to undergraduate medical students. Archives of cardiovascular diseases, 106(10), 487-491.
Ross, A. B., DeStigter, K. K., Rielly, M., Souza, S., Morey, G. E., Nelson, M., ... & Kawooya, M. G. (2013). A low-cost ultrasound program leads to increased antenatal clinic visits and attended deliveries at a health care clinic in rural Uganda. PloS one, 8(10), e78450.
Sabino, E. C., Ribeiro, A. L., Salemi, V. M., Oliveira, C. D. L., Antunes, A. P., Menezes, M. M., ... & Sachdev, V. (2013). Ten-year Incidence of Chagas cardiomyopathy among asymptomatic, T. cruzi seropositive former blood donors. Circulation, CIRCULATIONAHA-112.
Schleder, S., Dendl, L. M., Ernstberger, A., Nerlich, M., Hoffstetter, P., Jung, E. M., ... & Schreyer, A. G. (2013). Diagnostic value of a hand-carried ultrasound device for free intra-abdominal fluid and organ lacerations in major trauma patients. Emergency Medicine Journal, 30(3), e20-e20.
Www3.gehealthcare.com,. (2016). GE Healthcare. Retrieved 20 February 2016, from https://www3.gehealthcare.com/en