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The Battle over the Cervical Cancer Vaccine

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The Battle over the Cervical Cancer Vaccine

1) Was it ethical for Merck executives to lobby for vaccination program?

Merck was unethical in lobbing for a vaccination program because it seemed as if they were looking at the monetary aspect of the vaccine and not what it would mean to society as far as the vaccine helping to prevent cervical cancer. They may have just been excited that they had finally created a vaccine that would help to prevent a certain type of cervical cancer if not all types. In the text by Johnson, Merck's executive's ethical decision to lobby for the vaccination program was a utilitarianism decision to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people. They believed that by lobbing for the vaccine program, they are helping millions of girls to not become infected with cervical cancer (p. 138).

2) Do the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the cost?

In my opinion, the vaccine outweighs the cost on several levels. First, in clinical trials, the vaccine prevented infection of two types of HPV that account for 70% of cervical cancer and the two strains that cause 90% of genital warts and second, very few negative side effects were discovered (p. 159).

3) Should boys also be vaccinated?

In my opinion, I think that boys should be vaccinated especially if they carry the HPV and this would also be a way to prevent girls from getting cervical cancer. According to the text, men also respond to the vaccine (p. 160). The fact that men have been excluded from having the vaccine done is an equity issue. Harvard philosopher, John Rawls rejects utilitarian principles because generating the greatest number of benefits for society as a whole can seriously disadvantage certain groups and individuals. In others words, the boys are at a disadvantage because they are not girls even though the vaccine works just as well for them (p. 144).

4) Does vaccinating girls encourage sex outside of marriage?

In my opinion, vaccinating girls does not encourage sex outside of marriage. It helps to prevent a cancer if not caught in time, will result in surgery and/or maybe death. The fact that parents are squeamish about their daughters getting the vaccine is a moral issue for them. They do not want to think of their daughters having sex much less unprotected sex at the age the vaccine would be administered (p. 160).

5) What values are in conflict in this case? Is there any way they can be reconciled? If not, how will you determine which ones should take priority?

The values that are in conflict in this case are:

Economic values



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