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The Problems with Medicaid Kickbacks

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    How did Amgen’s unethical behavior contribute to the problems with Medicaid kickbacks? According to the Anna Richo, Amgen’s Chief Compliance Officer, Amgen strives to conduct business in the “highest ethical manner”. According to the site, Amgen each employee will be held accountable for any unethical practices. The code of conduct clearly states that all staff members are required to adhere to the laws, and act on good judgment. Kickbacks are illegal and deemed unethical in the United States.

    Kickbacks, sometimes referred to as bribery, are payments given or received with the intention of influencing another to gain from a situation and/or transaction. In the medical industry, doctors are often given samples from pharmaceutical companies to give to patients. This practice is common and is not illegal. However, when the doctor agrees to prescribe a particular medication or refer a particular specialist doctor and in exchange for a return, this is where the illegal process begins. In the Amgen 2009 case, the biotech company offered kickback to medical providers to boost sales.

    Pharmaceutical representatives influenced physicians to bill Medicaid for the anemia drug Aranesp, which were given free. The company made a profit of $15 million from the top-selling drug in exchange for giving doctors expense paid vacations (Zimmerman, 2009). Medicaid, a health program paid by taxpayers, not only had to pay for the medication billed, but for the bills for the problems the medication caused the patients. Why does the public consider this scandal to have an unethical dilemma?

    A dilemma is a situation that will have a bad consequence with either choice. The public considers this scandal to have an unethical dilemma because the taxpayers are forced to pay all the bills that physicians’ office filed. The physicians misused the Medicaid program, which is funded through the taxes paid by the working class, for the benefit of themselves and the Amgen. In addition to paying the bill filed for the free medication, the taxpayers must also pay for the services rendered for the health problems the medication caused.

    The medication caused stroke, heart attacks, and tumors in which the patients had to go to a physician to be diagnosed for (Zimmerman, 2009). Explain what is meant by whistleblowing? Whistleblowing is when an individual reveals the wrongdoing of an organization or a member of management. It is against the law for an organization to retaliate against someone who reveals the wrongdoing; however, organizations often find a gray area to terminate the person’s position.

    Include your opinions and identify any gaps between public expectations of ethical standards and universal professional codes of ethical standards. It is my opinion that most patients trust their doctors too much. If a doctor provides a diagnosis, most people do not seek a second opinion. Doctors and nurses take oaths to render the best services possible and practice in an ethical way. This oath is built to guide the behaviors of the medical personnel.

    With these codes in place, the public expects the professionals of Amgen and the doctors to “do the right thing” as stated in the company’s website. The problem with ethics is what one person deems to be ethical, another may not agree. I believe that the public holds the professionals to a higher level of ethics. In a medical situation a physician may be acting ethically according to the oath and codes he or she has sworn to; however, the behavior may not be aligned with what the person who is receiving the treatment or a loved one of the person receiving the treatment believes to be ethical.

    Far too often have I visited the emergency room and people complain that other patients were checked in after them, but was seen before them. This is because the emergency room must treat the patient with the most severe problem first. Amgen. About Amgen Corporate Compliance. Retrieved from http://www. amgen. com/about/corporate_compliance. html. Zimmerman, M. (2009). California among 15 states suing Amgen over anemia drug. Retrieved from http://articles. latimes. com/2009/oct/31/business/fi-amgen31

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    The Problems with Medicaid Kickbacks. (2016, Dec 02). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/accounting-3/

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