Carey Dean Moore was sentenced to death in 1980 for the murder of two cab drivers. A federal judge rejected the request by German drug company Fresenius Kabi to restrict Nebraska from including their drugs in the 4 drug cocktail, “contained diazepam, a tranquilizer; fentanyl citrate, a powerful synthetic opioid that can block breathing and knock out consciousness; cisatracurium besylate, a muscle relaxant; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart,” (NY Times) which will be used to kill the Death Row inmate. Although Fresenius Kabi does not take a position on lethal injection, the company thinks the use of their drug should not be permitted.
In this paper these theories, Individualism, Utilitarianism, Kantianism and Virtue will be applied to this case. For starters the company was trying to protect their reputation by keeping their drug away from the the death penalty scene. By doing that it could reduce their profit income. Which would be the opposite of what individualists want. When it comes to the death penalty happiness is never involved and should never be, utilitarian’s would argue that it is unethical for the company to allow Nebraska to use their drugs. Kantianism would argue the case is unethical because Nebraska is not being loyal to the drug company and putting their drug to use regardless of what the company has to say. Virtue Theory will not apply to this case because the drug company will not fulfil the four characteristics courage, honesty, temperance/self-control, and justice/fairness. After reviewing these 4 ethical theories, the drug company Fresenius Kabi should focus on restricting their products and ensuring the only people that can get their hands on them are hospitals around the world to prove their drugs are manufactured to help people not kill them.
Ethics Case Controversy
In August of 1979 a man by the name Carey Dean Moore was arrested for robbing and
killing two cab drivers in Omaha, Nebraska. On August 22nd 1979 the 22 year old murdered the first victim Reuel Eugene Van Ness Jr. a 47 year old Korean War veteran. His brother who was 14 years old, was in the back seat of the cab with Moore when Van Ness was shot in the back three times. The brothers then stole $140 from the driver to buy marijuana and porn magazines. 5 days later on August 27th he murdered Maynard Heldgeland who was also a 47 year old Korean War veteran and was working through family issues. Moore got in the taxi and put three bullets into Heldgeland’s head. Moore was sentenced to death in 1980 and fought for 27 years to appeal his visit with the electric chair making his sentence to death row the longest in the country. The sentence was overruled by Nebraska Supreme Court so they can check the constitutionality of the electric chair.
Since the ban for lethal injection in 2016 was overturned by voters this execution would be the first act of Capital Punishment in 21 years and the first ever Lethal Injection. Which is a more efficient and effective way to deal with this situation. Nebraska officials are pushing to carry through with the plans they have set for Moore. Being the first Lethal Injection in Nebraska, the drug company Fresenius Kabi opposes the use of the drugs Diazepam and Fentanyl. The company claims Nebraska Illegally obtained the drugs and does not want their drugs apart of the execution. Although this company does not take position in Capital Punishment they are still protecting their reputation and claim their drugs are not made for that reason and purposely do not sell them to correctional facilities. The state of Nebraska executed Carey Dean Moore leaving the German drug company with no say in had happened.
Fresenius Kabi, Nebraska Officials, and the Inmate Carey Dean Moore and his family are stakeholders for this case. Fresenius Kabi is a stakeholder because the make the product being used in the execution of Moore. Nebraska Officials because they are the reason this company’s product is being used in the execution. The Inmate Carey Dean Moore who is the reason the company and the state of Nebraska are in this mess. Lastly the inmates family who had to deal with the controversy and watch from the outside as Moore was waiting on death row for all those years.
There are two ways one can view the individualist theory. Milton Friedman and Tibor Machan both have their point of views on this theory. Friedman’s version is, the only goal of a business is to maximize profit within the constraints of the law. Whereas Machan the only goal of a business is to profit and the only goal of a business person is to maximize profit.
Fresenius Kabi filed lawsuits and fought to keep their product away from penitentiaries, jails, and prisons. If this company wanted to maximize profit they would not care where their product goes as long as they are making money. Capital Punishment is legal in the United States, therefore this company would be maximizing profit within the constraints of the law. However the company wanted their drugs as far away from the death penalty scene as possible.
According to the Utilitarianism theory, the primary goal is to maximize happiness in all people. Death penalty and happiness are words that do not go together. In the drug company, Fresenius Kabi’s point of view, they are only creating hate because it looks bad they are letting their drugs be used for lethal injection. Their main concern is losing their reputation, business relationships, and business partners. Defending their company is the main concern, they are known for selling their product to hospitals to help people in need, not to be used as a method of killing. If the company had control over where their products were going it could be considered an ethical case.
From Nebraska’s point of view this case is unethical because all they did was raise controversy between state officials and the drug company itself.
The Kantian theory states that rational decisions need to be ethical and need to be made from a business person’s vision not self-interest. While at the same time staying honest and loyal to all involved in the business. Which raises the question, did Fresenius Kabi act unethical with this theory applied? As stated before the company does not take a position on Capital Punishment, but they do not want their drugs used. The company did all they could by filing lawsuits stating the prison illegally obtained the drugs used to execute Carey Dean Moore. They stayed honest and loyal to their company trying to protect their reputation, the drug company acted ethical according to the Kantian theory. On the other hand the state of Nebraska acted unethical by making the decision themselves. From a business perspective if they had asked Fresenius Kabi for legal rights to the drugs then the company would not have brought this case to the court.
There are four main virtues of character courage, honesty, temperance/self-control, and justice/fairness. When a business abides by these four characteristics they are acting ethical according to the Virtue theory. Courage meaning one is willing take a stand in the right beliefs and ideas and take a risk without knowing the reward. Fresenius Kabi stuck to their word by saying they do not support their drugs being used for Lethal Injection, although they did not take a side in Capital Punishment they wanted to prove to people that their drugs are being used for the good and not for the bad. They were trying to protect their reputation by staying true to their word and keeping their drugs out of that scene.
Honesty is the agreement to be truthful with the public, the company themselves, and other companies. Just by Fresenius Kabi filing the lawsuit shows they were being honest with not only themselves but the public too. They were doing this in hope the judge will pick their side and rule it unlawful for the state of Nebraska to use these drugs.
Temperance and self-control are the characteristics that prove a business has realistic expectations and can keep themselves composed in times of trouble. The German drug company did a great job at keeping calm even though nothing was going in their favor. Some may say the lawsuit was pushing it too far but in the eyes of the company they had to protect their brand and block out the hate in order to progress. Which is what they did, while staying composed.
Finally the last characteristics within Virtue theory are justice and fairness, which preach hard work and fair practice. In a successful company these characteristics are very important to hold because without them malfunction within the company will be very easy. Fresenius Kabi worked hard at keeping their product away from Capital Punishment, if they did not care as much they would not have brought it to court. There is no such thing as working too hard and the company did everything they could but it was too late because the state of Nebraska already had their hands on the two drugs mixed in the four drug cocktail. The company acted ethical under this theory because instead of letting the execution just happen they did act as a roadblock to protect everything they stand for.
Justified Ethics Evaluation
In my opinion Fresenius Kabi did the right thing in this situation. Nebraska was unethical in a sense that they focused on themselves, they did not follow the proper procedure in this case. Asking the company for use of their drug would have been a start to this process that could have made it run way smoother than it actually did. Fresenius Kabi did only focus on themselves to protect the company and its reputation. Relationships and business partners would be lost, their reputation and everything the company stands for will also be neglected. They wanted to prove their drugs are used to help patients, not kill them. Especially in the particular state we are in with opioids in this country, people may view this case as an OK to use this drug for lethal injection.
Company Action Plan
The issue at hand is the German drug company Fresenius Kabi is trying to protect their reputation by keeping their products out of prisons, jails, and penitentiaries. Nebraska State Prison is looking to use the drugs Diazepam and Fentanyl which are both products made by Fresenius Kabi. The company claims the Nebraska State Prison illegally obtained these drugs, which are only distributed to hospitals and hospice care centers. Which leaves us with the question, how did the prison obtain these drugs? Fresenius Kabi says they only distribute to hospitals and hospice care centers, yet a prison got their hands on them.
At Fresenius Kabi our job is to give the right tools needed in order to save the people who need it. We strive to work hard on a day to day basis to ensure these tools, whether it is medicine or technology will save lives! Our core values are Accountability, Customer Focus, and Excellence. These values are the roots to this company and all of our workers were trained to incorporate them throughout their work day. Accountability shows other employees, customers, and other companies that we are not afraid to hold ourselves accountable for a misunderstanding or making a mistake while working. Customer Focus shows we revolve our company around customer satisfaction. This ensures our customers are happy at all times. Excellence is very important to us because we are in such a competitive market, we need to be at peak performance at all times.
Berman, Mark. “Nebraska Pushes to Carry out the Country's First Execution Using Fentanyl.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 31 May 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/national/2018/05/31/nebraska-pushes-to-carry-out-the-countrys-first-execution-using-fentanyl/?utm_term=.e3815815e0e3.
Croucher, Shane. “Nebraska Will Make History in Its Execution of a Death Row Inmate.” Newsweek, 14 Aug. 2018,www.newsweek.com/carey-dean-moore-nebraska-fentanyl-lethal-injection-death-row-execution-1071741.
France-Presse, Agence. “German Drug Maker Sues to Halt Planned Execution in Nebraska.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 8 Aug. 2018, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/08/german-drug-maker-sues-to-halt-planned-execution-in-nebraska.
“Home - Fresenius Kabi Global.” Home - Fresenius Kabi Global, 2019, www.fresenius-kabi.com/.
Press, The Associated. “Judge Rejects Drugmaker's Attempt to Block Nebraska Execution.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 11 Aug. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/08/10/us/judge-rejects-drugmakers-attempt-to-block-nebraska-execution.html?action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article®ion=Footer.