Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 1-1-2017


One-year Embargo

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Joris Gielen


bioethics, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, corporate social responsibility, UNESCO, Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights


Due to scandals of scientific misconduct, a climate of mistrust of science exists amongst the general public. This becomes of concern when we acknowledge that it is difficult for science and technology to flourish without broad societal trust. The pharmaceutical industry has often felt the brunt of such mistrust and has suffered many reputational setbacks over the past several years. Such reputational decline has a strong moral dimension, as it stems from issues such as the questionable conduct of clinical trials, pricing schemas, and access to medicines for low- or middle-income countries. The end product of such issues is the public not viewing pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies favorably. Since pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are intrinsically tied to health and human flourishing, an ethical framework to aid in resolving both the ethical issues facing the industry and the resulting reputation it yields on both the industry as a whole and individual companies, could certainly be valuable.

The central supposition of this dissertation is that additional work needs to be done in the area of pharmaceutical ethics and corporate social responsibility. Currently, no specifically global bioethics tool exists to implement ethics principles into the business practices of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, which constitutes a glaring gap in the implementation of ethics principles. This dissertation thus aims to do the following: (i) clarify the ethical grounding of pharmaceutical corporate social responsibility, and (ii) develop a global bioethics tool that can be utilized by the pharmaceutical industry as a manner to aid in implementing global ethics principles. The global bioethics tool seeks to implement a global ethical framework on the basis of performance indicators and best practices, with a long-term goal of helping society regain its trust in the pharmaceutical industry. While there are numerous bioethical guidelines available, it is argued that the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, as a global ethics document with the backing of the global community, can be utilized to create such a tool by which to measure the ethical practices of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.