Tuesday, November 24, 2015

UPS to pay $40 million to end online pharmacies investigation (2012)

UPS worker delivering parcels
The controversy of this case arises from the fact that the company was not manufacturing these products, and that some of the drugs and substances it was dealing with were legalized in the country.
Where the problem, emerged was the fact that the company was found to be responsible for facilitating what was being fought by the federal and national governments. Besides, the company did not easily approve the conduct of the business in as part of its objectives, but the management fell victim of employees and the C-suite who acted indecently by carrying out business that was not readily approved, and without the consent of the management.
According to US Today “UPS employees also repeatedly advised corporate executives that the company should discontinue pursuing online pharmacy business”. It should be noted that the real intentions of the actions that were taken against UPS were not intended to castigate the company or its services.
DEA accused UPS of knowingly shipping the illegally-prescribed drugs between 2003 and 2010 because "it was on notice, through some employees" that such activities were occurring. DEA also accused UPS of failing to do anything about it. (Bluelight) This was mainly intended to ensuring that the issue of abusing drugs is controlled.
This is in respect to the consistent efforts in ensuring that the use of drugs wrongly has been cut down, thereby keeping the citizens safe and free from exposure. Through the delivery system, UPS made it easier for people including minors to easily access the substances.

David Abney, CEO of UPS
The stakeholders of the UPS Company include the management, its employees, National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), and lastly are the customers. The management is fully aware of the charter of the business that is what the business is allowed to do and what it is not allowed.
It coordinates all the activities of the company, including making decisions on the shipment of commodities. On the other hand, the employees work under the management, as they are only meant to facilitate the performance of the day to day activities of the business. However, they are also allowed to have some independence and as a result they are expected to act ethically while at their workplace.
The NAPB reviewed only 3% of more than 10,000 pharmacies that comply with the U.S pharmacy laws and practice standards, which makes them part of this ethical issue.
Analyzing the implications of the activities of this company on the ethical issues can best be achieved through the application of basic concepts by theorists, including individualism, utilitarianism, Kantianism, and the virtue theory.

This theory demonstrate Friedman’s and Machen’s view of Individualism. Friedman states that the only goal of a business is to make profit and most importantly within the law, which makes UPS completely unethical because they did not adherence the regulations.
On the other hand, Machen says that business people may have other goals and those goals may at times be prioritized, but that does not change the fact that UPS did not obey the law. The company seems to have maximized its profits at the expense its moral obligations and the people who live in it. Individualism is being the moral stance of maintaining the moral outlook of an individual.
When looked at critically, the company seems to have taken part in active participation in destroying the environment, something that is not consistent with the principles of individualism.

Drug Enforcement Admin. badge

The principle utilitarianism insists that happiness is of intrinsic value. The promotion of illegal online pharmacies is something that is strictly against the legal and moral provisions of most states, but UPS found ways to get those substances into the United States.
Utilitarianism clearly states that happiness should be maximized between all parties involved. The parties that are involved in this case are UPS and the customer, both targeted groups had their share of happiness.
By applying the concept of utilitarianism, UPS can be seen as morally right in the course of their operations by increasing more happiness than sadness.

The principles of Kantianism insist on rationality, in which the only thing that is of true value is rationality. According to the Kantian business ethic theory, rational decisions need to be ethical. The decision are made has to be motivated from obligation and responsibility not self-interest. Being ethical means accepting the standards for a right conduct or practice.
A business is never free from these rules and standards. The business should always be honest and loyal to their workers and customers. Internet pharmacies selling controlled substances, including powerful narcotic painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, without valid prescriptions used UPS services to ship the illegal drugs, the Justice Department said in a press release.
Some pharmacies shipped the prescription drugs to customers who had simply filled out a questionnaire with their medical complaint for an online "evaluation," the Justice Department said. (Legar, 2013) The law of humanity states that honesty is the most important factor. UPS in this case failed in applying this theory because they lied and cheated to the government, they were not true to them.

UPS logo
Virtue Theory
Virtue theory is the characteristics that allow things to function properly, they are called “good-making features” or “virtues”. The four main virtues are honesty, temperance/self-control, Justice/Fairness, and courage.
When it comes to honesty, managers and employees were not honest to the rules and regulation of the law. In addition, they were not courage enough to stand for the right thing and stop those orders from being delivered.
The company did not control itself from adhering the laws, they preferred to have profit instead. Lastly, justice and fair practices were not employed from the company. These virtues depend on the thing’s function and the thing’s circumstances.
However, UPS violated the four virtues of good will. The virtue theory also sees the practices of the company as being unethical when put on a moral scale, as the management fails to uphold the appropriate business virtues such as the honesty and justice towards the government and did not control their acts when applying the laws.

Justified Ethics Evaluation
The case in which the company was caught up in a scandal with was where it was found to be in contravention of the law. In fact, it has been noted that businesses are not fully committed in ensuring that employees and customers get the best out of their operations.
This is because of some violations that are experienced in the day to day operations of the businesses. In my opinion, UPS was not ethical in dealing with their customers, since they illegally helped them to get drug without valid prescriptions.
On the other hand, UPS is not responsible for the packages that got in the country illegally. I believe that is the government’s job to check the packages and make sure that they are safe to get into the country and be delivered.


“DEA Targets FedEx, UPS in Online Pharmacy Battle [Archive] - Bluelight." DEA Targets FedEx, UPS in Online Pharmacy Battle [Archive] – Bluelight. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Mundy, A, & Catan, T. (2012). Pain-Pill Probe Targets FedEx, UPS. The Wall Street Journal.

Leger, D. (2013). UPS pays $40M to end online pharmacies probe. USAToday.

Schoenberg, T. (2013). UPS Pays $40 Million to End Illegal Drug Shipment Probe. Bloomberg.

Sullivan, J. (2013). UPS to pay $40 million to end federal investigation into illicit drug deliveries. CBS NEWS.

"United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) Company Profile | Reuters.com." Reuters. Thomson Reuters, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment