Biosophical Analysis of Ethics in Pharmaceutical Industry: Opportunities and Challenges

Article excerpt

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Our objectives in this article are to present an account of morality and ethicality that is systematic, accessible, and usable in bioscientific and biotechnologal endeavors. One of the objectives of this article is to introduce the ethical and moral perspectives of biosciences and biotechnologies in the pharmaceutical industry. These common core concepts will be explicated and grounded for the common benefit of the human race. Another objective of this article is to provide the theoretical and pragmatic knowledge needed in today's research and development in the fields of biosciences and biotechnology within the ethical and moral context of humanity.

Keywords: Bioethics, Biomoral, Biotechnology, Biosophy, Biophilia, Biotechnology, Lifesciences

INTRODUCTION

From ancient times, biologists, biophysicists, biochemists, and biotechnologists believed that the wellbeing of humanity depended upon the moral right of having pragmatic freedom in bioresearch in order to discover the truth, to uphold the truth, to complete the truth, and to pursue the application of the truth. Scientific research issues, and more specifically experimental research activities in the fields of biosciences, biotechnology, and biomedical practices have become the controversial sociopolitical debate that exerts an impact on bioethical analysis. Not everyone is happy with the current state of bioethics and much of the discontent is focused on the questions of methodology. Meilaender (1995: 2) echoed this concern: "From where should bioethics take its direction? From within the practice of medicine itself, or from more general moral norms applied to medicine? Do we need a moral theory to guide our bioethical reflection or can we make our way from case to case, gradually mapping the territory? Are the most common bioethical approaches focused too much on the language of rights, able to offer only a thin and minimal ethics that gives little real wisdom about how to ought to live and die?"

Bioethical debates on human, animal, and plant genetics have been the subject areas in research and development in the past centuries. Historically, each generation of bioscientists, biotechnologists, and biomedical practitioners including physicians have been confronted by critical issues in positioning from cautious approval, to wait-and-see attitudes, and/or complete rejection and condemnation of the progressive paths of bio-techno-scientific efforts. There are several critical issues and debates concerning genetic testing, predictive gene diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis, somatic cell gene therapy, germ-line gene intervention, organ transplantation, genetic innovation and engineering, genetic information, embryonic research, cloning humans and animals, and diverting the natural evolutionary path of human species into a new global biohierarchy of the human species.

In viewing the present and future holistic lifestyle of human beings, bio-techno-scientific research will no longer be able to stand apart as an independent form of discipline in inquiring and discovering novel possibilities for a better understanding of the mystery of life. In the past, politicians, biotechnologists, and biopharmaceutical ventures tried to separate bio-technoscientific research from cultural values, ethical beliefs, moral philosophies, and religious faiths. They tried to limit biotechno-scientific research within a closed system of inquiry in laboratories. Most sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists, ethicists, and theologists have been left out the picture of bioresearch. Yet never, before now, has bio-techno-scientific experimentation been such an important part of our daily life. Today, as never before, bio-techno-scientific experimental efforts have become the object of morality, ethicality, and legality. We will thus, from the viewpoint of bioethicists, analyze the debates over the tension between freedom of research, on one hand and protection of human rights, on the other. …