Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Moral Relativism

I've been busy the past few days and haven't had a chance to post. But right now I am viewing a webcast of our big staff meeting... so I can do other things while I'm listening. Yesterday I had a bit of a moral/morale issue with my job. Don't get me wrong... I love my job. I love everything about it. Even the bad parts. Yesterday was one of the bad parts. We develop living medicines to treat a variety of diseases, mostly cancer. Living medicine means that our products are produced from proteins. The difference between a pharmacology company and a biotechnology company is that they deal mainly with man-made chemicals... we use proteins, antibodies, bacteria... We just filed on a drug that was derived from e. coli... The possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately because the possibilities are endless... that means lots of testing. And of course... if the medicine is new... it's not going into humans first... it's going into animals. I get to hear about human testing (clinical trials, etc) all the time. Rarely do I have to hear about animal testing but yesterday I had to. I had to sit through a presentation on testing monkeys with a new drug and the side effects they experienced. A few months ago... it was dogs. The thought that somewhere within this company there is a dog... in a cage... basically being tortured... to develop a new medicine... makes me sick. But there is the ultimate question - As human beings, where do you draw the line? Obviously the line has been drawn for centuries. We are willing to subject poor, innocent, defenseless animals to benefit us - to further our lives while ending theirs.

The only thought that helps me look past the stories I hear is... we aren't a cosmetic company. We're not a company that in the end has no point. Our mission is to benefit patients. These patients are deathly ill or at least suffering in some way. We treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, debilitating psoriasis and many others. My team alone deals with drugs that help people get through their cancer, formally named Supportive Care Oncology. At the VERY least... I conclude that we are not a company based on the cosmetic industry. We aren't subjecting animals for the benefit of our outer beauty. It's a selfish view of reality but it's the lesser of two evils. I guess it's all relative.
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