Yet Another Heartwarming Tale of Corporate Virtue

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Suppose you were a manufacturer of OxyContin, and you had strong evidence that certain doctors were illegally selling huge quantities of your pills to all comers. Keith Humphreys asks, What Would You Do?

  • (A) Report these doctors to the authorities?
  • (B) Insulate yourself by not sending your representatives to these doctors anymore, but continue to pocket the huge profits they generate from writing countless prescriptions for your products?
  • (C) Keep a secret list of these doctors but publicly promote the idea that painkiller abuse is not driven by wayward doctors but by other sources, such as pharmaceutical robberies?
  • (D) Reveal the list of doctors to authorities years later only because at that point it could stop a competitor from introducing a new generic medication that might cut into your own sales?
  • (E) A combination of B, C and D, but certainly not A.

You’ve already guessed the answer, haven’t you? I can’t put anything over on you guys. Click the link if you want the gory details.

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We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

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