"I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witness, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant...I will apply...(treatment) for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice." –
Running a Pharmaceutical Company –
My Own Internal Conflict
This month’s blog tackles the topic of the internal conflict inherent in pharmaceutical companies between the profit drive on the one hand, and, on the other hand, being in the “business” of benefiting monetarily from something as essential as people’s health…
No, I am not a doctor, and no, I did not swear the Hippocratic oath. I am a businessman, the head of a Pharmaceutical Company, responsible, first and foremost, to my employees and family to turn a profit.
Yet, for me, the paradoxical situation I find myself in is that I derive this profit from Pharmacy, from the sales and the distribution of life saving and life enhancing medicines, including vaccines. How do I resolve this internal conflict that I believe is inherent in the Pharmaceutical Industry?
Well, I attempt to do it by swearing my own kind of Pharmaceutical Hippocratic Oath, one in which I try to balance business profit with integrity and the quality of the product I sell - for all.
I both accept and understand that pharmaceutical manufacturers must necessarily drive on profit; otherwise they would very quickly be out of business. At the same time, this very profit drive allows us to be able to make better products for our customers; it allows us to invest in new technologies for production, and develop new and improved methods of storage and distribution.
And, so long as we are able to curb our natural greed, the greed that invariably enters the picture anywhere and anytime there is profit at stake, this profit drive then paradoxically becomes the driving force for doing good in the world, for bringing an essential product, perhaps the most essential after food, to people in need.
As the head of a Pharmaceutical Company this is the way I try to resolve what I see as the internal conflict between the drive for profit and the altruistic ideal of benefitting people everywhere through the production and distribution of life enhancing and life saving medicines. These are the twin motivations for why I entered the world of pharmacy.
And, as I move forward, and continue to try to grow my company, I will also continue to try to find the right balance between these two seemingly opposing forces, which, after all, if I work hard at recognizing and letting go of my own greed, may not be in such great opposition after all.