2 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2019
As the head pharmacist and manager of Hedrick's Pharmacy, a family-owned, independent pharmacy in Pennsylvania, Samantha Hedrick had to decide whether to continue to stock a wildly popular supplement, Memoral, a blend of vitamins, minerals, and herbs that "may support memory and cognitive function." Despite its hefty price tag ($75 a month), the supplement was a hit with the customers, particularly older adults who were concerned about developing Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. Hedrick's research had revealed, however, that while Memorol was probably safe, it was no better than a placebo in preventing memory problems in older adults. Although Hedrick was still getting adjusted to running the pharmacy, she knew that Memorol was very profitable for her family's business, but was it fair to sell her customers an expensive supplement that was functionally no different than a sugar pill, even if customers felt it helped them? Was having Memorol on the shelves an implicit seal of approval from the small pharmacy? How should she respond to customers who asked her whether they should start taking it?
Jan. 18, 2019
Samantha Hedrick could not put off her decision about Memorol any longer. As the head pharmacist and manager of Hedrick's Pharmacy (Hedrick's), a family-owned independent pharmacy in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Hedrick decided what products to offer to her customers. She dreaded the thought of pulling one of the pharmacy's most popular and profitable supplements off the shelves. But she was equally uneasy about selling a product of such questionable value to the customers who had come to rely on her for advice.
Hedrick's was founded in 1913 by James Hedrick, a pharmacist and local business leader. In an age dominated by chain pharmacies such as CVS and Walgreens, Hedrick's was able to maintain a loyal base of customers who had come to trust its friendly, knowledgeable, and down-to-earth pharmacy staff. Many people in Lancaster preferred to get medical advice from the pharmacists at Hedrick's rather than from doctors or online sources. Like most pharmacies, Hedrick's offered prescription and over-thecounter medications as well as dietary supplements. It also stocked a wide array of gifts, cards, and toys.
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Keywords: business ethics, ethical issues, stakeholder management, pharmaceutical, supplements, health, small business, responsibility, leadership, public trust, reputation, obligation to customers
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