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BUS020X601A Business Ethics and Responsible Management

BUS020X601A Business Ethics and Responsible Management

Assessment Case Choice 3

When does a gift become a conflict of interest? Doctors and the medical industries.


Drug companies, and medical devise compete, like any other industries in competitive markets. To have a hospital, health authority or even the entire health service buy a particular drug, or appliance can help a company be hugely successful. Who recommends drugs /equipment to purchasing committees? Often the doctors that subscribe and or use the company product. So how do these companies get their products in front of doctors and persuade them that these are the products that they should be using?

Take a look at this story:


Codes of conduct are being brought into practice to tackle what is perceived to be a problem of conflict of interest. You will see the Chairman of NHS England talking about how….

“We are trying to embed the principle that you don’t get taken out for a fancy dinner and ignore it,” 

Your task is to explore this issue from the perspective of ethical management.

Your assessment into two parts with part 1 being further split into two. Read the requirements below and attempt all three parts:

Part 1

a) You are required to write a brief report to senior managers at an NHS Trust (For the purpose of this exercise think of this as the organisation responsible for running a group of hospitals in one geographical area) . You will write this from  perspective of a middle manager tasked to outline the ethical dimensions of allowing doctors to work closely with suppliers of drugs and medical equipment, and with a view to assessing why “We are trying to embed the principle that you don’t get taken out for a fancy dinner and ignore it.” You will need to explore a number of factors including  - Why should this be explored as an ethical question? How might the story as it is reported impact on how hospitals, and indeed the health service in general is perceived as part of the community? You will also need to outline who the key stakeholders are and in what way they are affected. You should include research into examples of how ethical choices impact on other organisations/companies (e.g where is there research that shows good choices benefit organisations/companies and bad choices have a negative impact?). Finally you should conclude with some recommendations for what the Trust should do.

This part of your assessment should be written as a report, but should be referenced in the normal academic way using Harvard citations and referencing.

b) For this part you should again use the case study – but this time choose TWO ethical theories and demonstrate that you can apply these to the case to show how your chosen theories lead you to a view on the ethics of the case.

Part 2

Part 2 is NOT related to the case study. This section requires you to discuss what makes an ethical leader and how you would, as an ethical manager, manage your business and/or others to a high ethical standard.

You will need to think about personal ethics, about the conditions that bring about unethical organisations and practices, about organisational values and methods of compliance. This part can be written in a more reflective style, where the first person can be used.


The word limit for this assessment is 3,000 words. This does NOT include any title page or bibliography.

You are allowed 10% of the word count (ie submissions can be up to 3,300 words_, submissions exceeding this will be subject to a penalty.

How the word count is used across the submission is up to you. A suggestion would be

Part 1

a) Approx. 1200 words

b) Approx. 1000 words

Part 2

Approx. 800 words

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