Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is undertaken to ensure that businesses stay within the stipulated ethical requirements. The healthcare industry is entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of lives and ensuring high-quality healthcare to people of all age brackets and social classes. The insurance industry plays an important role in the industry by ensuring that patients who are covered access the best health care when the need arises. Blue Cross is one such business, offering health insurance and health cover to millions of people for a long time now. The healthcare providers such as Onward medical supply play the biggest role in ensuring treatment is dignified. The pharmaceutical industry also plays a significant role by ensuring what is given to patients helps rather than harms them as required by the ethics of production. Business ethics require that the business puts the interest of the customer first, tells them the truth when selling products, and offers them what they have paid for.
Ethical issues in different companies
Blue cross insurance
Blue Cross has been on the wrong side of business ethics a number of times for various reasons. Recently, the company has attracted a lot of attention regarding its rates. As reported by Anthem, “last year the company determined that it would increase their California insurance premiums by percentages in the double digits as high as 39%” (2). The increase has called for attention to the issue of unfair insurance practices by big insurance companies. The business has more than 800,000 customers with individual coverage, all of who would be directly affected by the increment. According to Walton, “the extraordinary increase would threaten to make healthcare unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of Californians, many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet” (2). In such a situation, the company is obligated to justify its increase and the impact it would have on their healthcare quality. Business ethics require that a business be able to offer better value for every increment consumers incur.
To solve this, the company, in agreement with other stakeholders, agreed to reduce the increment to 5.37%, a figure that was approved by the insurance commissioner (Blue Cross 2). The decision was also done with proper consultations from the rest of the stakeholders. Business ethics demand that a business must consult with its customers, partners, and other stakeholders before it makes any decisions that affect them (Duska 13). Compliance with laws and regulations is a major concern for business ethics, a factor that was considered in fixing the situation.
Onward medical supply
Onward medical supply in Houston recently pleaded guilty to a medical fraud scheme. The healthcare providers billed Medicare on many occasions for expensive medical equipment that the patients didn’t need. The business also paid kickbacks to patients who brought other patients to the hospital. Business ethics demands that every healthcare practitioner and business must be able to rationalize their behaviors and decisions, which was not so in this situation. Fraud and extorting money from clients also go against the business ethics of sales and marketing, which dictate that consumers be told the truth and get value for their money.
The case has caused heated debates on the role of investors and government in ensuring business ethics. According to experts in business ethics and fraud prevention, everyone in the medical industry must be willing to have a strong desire to do the right thing, the biggest element of business ethics. Several analysts also argue that business ethics involve a realization that every choice in a business has a consequence and it shouldn’t impact the employees, customers, or other stakeholders negatively.
Baxter International has sparked a lot of debate in the recent past over allegations that some of their drugs in the market were contaminated. According to the Scientific Protein Laboratories (SPL) and the Food and Drug Administration, the company has not been adhering to proper standards and measures required to ensure the safety of consumers. As a result, most of its drugs have been recalled from the market and several investigations have been launched.
Business ethics call for responsibility towards consumers and quality assurance. In the healthcare industry, ignorance by a company can have adverse effects and could cause death. Businesses are obligated to act morally and ethically even as they try to maximize profits. Ethics of production are supposed to ensure that the production process and the final product do not in any way cause harm to the consumer (Ferrell and John 13). Business ethics also ensure that the business is protected from the legal and technical challenges that may arise from wrong decisions. In the case of Baxter, the business will have to face major legal consequences and a bad reputation may cost it heavily, consequences that would have been avoided if they adhered to the ethical production of their drugs.
“When it comes to ethics and compliance, one size or type of issue or solution does not fit all organizations “ (Ferrell and John 36). Healthcare is an industry requiring dedication to quality and support for life. The insurance and pharmaceuticals industries are a major determinant of how well this can be done. When people cannot afford healthcare, investing in modern technology and the best practitioners in the industry would be futile. When manufacturers are not keen on the safety and quality of their drugs, business ethics are broken since consumers suffer. For the care providers such as Onward medical supply, it is their responsibility to do business with honesty and avoid cases where patients are overcharged or diagnosed wrongly to make their bills bigger. It is for this reason that every player in the healthcare industry must do all they can to make it as ethical and affordable as possible (Flanagan and Patrick 12).
Anthem. California Health Plans and Benefits. 2011.
Blue Cross. Consumer Complaints and Resolution Process, 2011.
Duska, Ronald. Education, Leadership and Business Ethics: Essays on the work of Clarence Walton. Dordrecht [u.a]: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2005. Print.
Ferrell, Chestler and John Fraedrich. Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making and Cases. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.
Flanagan, Patrick and Patrick Primeaux. Insurance Ethics for a More Ethical World. Amsterdam: Elsevier JAI, 2007. Print.
Walton, Sorell. Blue Cross Blue Shield Most Expensive Health Insurance. 2011.