A New Disease Outbreak: Potential Global Health Epidemic

TitleA New Disease Outbreak: Potential Global Health Epidemic
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHedahl, M, Henderson, M, Heurer, K, Nelson, JL, Rieder, TN, Whyte, K
Corporate AuthorsGeorgetown University Undergraduate Bioethics Society,, American Society for Bioethics + Humanities,
Date PublishedApril 2013
PublisherGeorgetown University Undergraduate Bioethics Society
KeywordsBIOETHICS , CHEMISTRY , Intellectual , Intellectual Property and Patents , Law , MEDICINE , PHILOSOPHY , PUBLIC , Public Policy
Abstract(See Case 1 in PDF) In January of 2003, health officials in the central African coutnry of Zambabba-Mubanda reported an outbreak of a new, pandemic disease that is resistant to conventional antibiotics. Called SAKS (severe acute kidney syndrome) the disease continues to spread rapidly through Zambbaba-Mubanda and the neighboring country of Moomba. Due to political differences the health officials of Zambbaba-Mubanda have not alerted the Moomba government about this new disease. Meanwhile, EU Pharma Inc., drug company who is doing clinical trails in Zambabba-Mubanda discovers that their new drug, Pathocillin, could have positive effects for patients with SAKS, though one dose of the drug costs over $150. In certain health crises, the World Health Organization allows for the violation of patent rights so emergency generic drugs can be manufactured either in the country they shall be used, or in another country if a genuine health crisis exists. What moral actions should be required of Zambabba-Mubanda and EU Pharma Inc. if the situation in Moomba has reached a genuine health crisis?
NotesCase from the 2013 Bioethics Bowl head as part of the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference. Hosted by Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. April 5-7, 2013.
Full Text