Is Sol Levin running a business “just like any other business,” or is his company open to moral criticism?

Executive summary | healthcare delivery systems | Rasmussen College System
September 15, 2021
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September 15, 2021
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Is Sol Levin running a business “just like any other business,” or is his company open to moral criticism?

what is the ethical issue in this case CASE CASE 14.1 Blood for Sale William H. Shaw and Vincent Barry Sol Levin was a successful stockbroker in Tampa, able market for safe and uncontaminated blood and with some colleagues, founded Plasma Interna tional. Not everybody is willing to make money by selling his or her own blood, and in the beginning Plasma International bought blood from people addicted to wine. Although innovative marketing increased Plasma International’s sales dramati- cally, several cases of hepatitis were reported in re- cipients. The company then began looking for new sources of blood Plasma International searched worldwide and with the advice of a qualified team of medical con- sultants, did extensive testing. Eventually they found that the blood profiles of several rural West African tribes made them ideal prospective donors. After negotiations with the local government, Plasma In- ternational signed an agreement with several tribal chieftains to purchase blood. Business went smoothly and profitably for Plasma International until a Tampa paper charged that Plasma was purchasing blood for as little as fifteen cents a pint and then reselling it to hospitals in the From William H. Shaw and Vincent Barry, Moral Issues in Business, 5th ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1996).EVERYTHING FOR SALE RK United States and States and South America for $25 per pint. In ent disaster, the newspaper alleged, Plasma ternational had sold 10.000 pints pints, Tetting nearly a carter of a million dollars The newspaper story stirred up Controversy in but the existence of commercialized bleed arketing systems in the United States is nothing Approximately half the blood and plasma ob- ined in the United States is bought and sold like yother commodity. About 40 percent is given to id having to pay for blood received or to build up dil so blood will be available without share if ded. By contrast, the National Health Service in Dritain relies entirely on a voluntary system of Wood nation Blood is neither bought not sold. It is avail wheto anyone who needs it without charge or chlies on and donors gain no preference over onders In an important study, economist Richard Titmuss showed that the British system works better than the American one in terms of economic efficiency, ad- ministrative efficiency, price, and blood quality. The commercialized blood market, Titmuss argued, is wasteful of blood and plagued by shortages. Bureau cratization, paperwork, and administrative overhead result in a cost per unit of blood that is five to fifteen times higher than in Britain. Hemophiliacs, in par ticular, are disadvantaged by the American system 573 strangers in a manner that is not possible when Blood is a commodity This may sound like a philosopher’s abstrac- tion, far removed from the thoughts of ordinary people. On the contrary, it is an idea spet y expressed try British donors in response to Ti m ‘s questionnaire. As one woman, a machine operator, wrote in reply to the question why she first decided to become a blood deer. “You can’t get blood from supermarkets and chain stores People themselves must come forward: sick people can’t get out of bed to ask you for a pint to save their life, so I came forward in hopes to help some body who needs Blood.” The implication of this answer, and others like it is that even if the formal right to give blood can coexist with commercialized hood banks, the respondient’s action would have los much of its significance to her, and the blood would probably not have been given at all. When blood is a commodity, and can be purchased if it is not given, altruism becomes necessary, and so loosen the boods that can otherwise ist be tween strangers in a community. The existence of a market in blood does not threaten the formal right to give blood, but it does away with the right to give blood which cannot be bought, has no cash value, and must be given freely if it is to be obtained at all. If there is such a right, it is incompatible with the right to sell blood, and we cannot avoid violating one of these rights when We grant the other. and have enormous bills to pay. In addition, com- mercial markets are much more likely to distribute contaminated blood. Titmuss also argued that the existence of a com- mercialized system discourages voluntary donors. People are less apt to give blood if they know that others are selling it. Philosopher Peter Singer has elaborated on this point: Both Titmuss and Singer believe that the weak- ening of the spirit of altruism in this sphere has important repercussions. It marks, they think, the increasing commercialization of our lives and makes similar changes in attitude, motive, and relationships more likely in other fields. If blood is a commodity with a price, to give blood means merely to save someone money. Blood has a cash value of a certain number of dollars, and the importance of the gift will vary with the wealth of the recipient. If blood cannot be bought, however, the gift’s value depends upon the need of the recipi- ent. Often, it will be worth life itself. Under these circumstances blood becomes a very special kind of gift, and giving it means providing for strangers, without hope of reward, something they cannot buy and without which they may die. The gift relates QUESTIONS 1. Is Sol Levin running a business “just like any other business,” or is his company open to moral criticism? Defend your answer by annealing to moral principle. ng ideals of the British and American ystem, in your opin and respect for

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