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Health Care: Public Policy Decisions

The death tolls associated with Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide triggered much public outcry. As a result, there was a drastic drop in the market share of Tylenol. This signaled the end of the Tylenol brand in the market according to a majority of public relations scholars. For instance, Jerry Della, an advertising executive who argued that Tylenol brand was vanishing forever. However, Johnson and Johnson (J & J) bounced from this setback with a major resolution that earned it a good reputation than before the crisis unlike many anticipated. This was attributed to the investment of $300 million, to reclaim its market share and $100 to recall all the poisoned Tylenol capsules. Overall, this was six times more than the J & J company actual cost with a tax write-off of $50 million. In addition, a $100,000 was offered as rewards for anyone who would disclose the Tylenol murderer. The campaign was successful as Tylenol recovered its market shares to norm prior to the crisis. Moreover, the J & J company regained total customer confidence based on how the problem was solved. This portrayed the company’s commitment to safeguarding the interest of the public. To date, the Tylenol brand revival remains one of the most significant approaches echoed in crisis management (Werther and Chandler, 284).

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Merck and the Vioxx issue

On the contrary, Merck’s Vioxx brand was unsuccessful to overcome the crisis facing it. This was attributed to Vioxx’s side effects to the patients. Vioxx was presumed to cause gastrointestinal toxicity, as well as increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This forced Merck to withdrawal it Vioxx brand in the market in 2004. Vioxx was the second biggest selling COX-2 inhibitor generating annual sales ranging to $2.5 billion. Before the drug was withdrawn, it had been used by many people. Later on in September, Merck recalled its Vioxx label back to the market. However, this further worsened the situation rather than solving it. Indeed, Merck suffered a major blow with its investors fleeing the stock where it lost $27 billion, 27 percent of the total market share. Additionally, Merck had incurred more losses. Furthermore, Merck was also hit by a devastating relationship with the public as the recall of Vioxx triggered ethical dilemma as to whether Merck’s downplayed the safety concerns about Vioxx. In turn, this led to the litigation problems, and several lawsuits were filed against it. As of 2011, Merck was fined $950 after pleading guilty of criminal demeanour by failing to comply with the safety precaution recommended for its illegally promoted brand, Vioxx (Weiss, 196).

Public policy decisions

As far as the value of human life is concerned, no dollar value can be placed on it. This can be attributed to an increase in the cost of health care. In this case, a lot of money is used on medical technologies. On the other hand, money lacks the intrinsic value because its worth is people though it does thing which are of intrinsic value. For instance, a kidney dialysis is critical in sustaining patients who would have died. A dialysis is cheaper than an organ transplant though both would save human life. However, some economists reached at the dialysis cost of $129,000 as the life worth (Kingsbury, para. 3). In this case, the amount would treat a patient adding him/her a quality adjusted lifestyle.


Kingsbury, Kathleen. The Value of a Human Life: $129,000. 2008. Web.

Weiss, Joseph W. Business Ethics: A Stakeholders and Issues Management Approach. Australia: South-Western Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.

Werther, William B, and D. Chandler. Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility: Stakeholders in a Global Environment. Los Angeles: SAGE, 2011. Print.

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