How the Model for Ethical Decision Making Can Be Applied to Solve the Ethical Dilemma of Removing Vicodin from a Schedule III Medication to a Schedule II – Term Paper Example

The problem presented in the case is that removing Vicodin from a schedule III medication to a schedule II medication would restrict access meaning areduction in abuse while the change would present new challenges to patients in pain who need this medication. Thus, the problem is twofold and it presents an ethical dilemma to the stakeholders involved. Those who rely on the drug for pain relief will suffer from unbearable pain while the removal of the drug from schedule III would mean that it would not be abused.
The Model for Ethical Decision Making developed by the Josephson Institute of Ethics can be applied to solve the ethical dilemma presented in the case mentioned above. In solving this dilemma, the first ethical principle to be applied is that the decision to be made should take into account the interests of all the stakeholders involved. The problem that has been highlighted is related to addiction as a result of abuse of the drug. The ethical principles that should be upheld in this case should be oriented towards benefiting the larger number of the population affected. In principle, drug addiction is unethical hence the removal of the drug Vicodin from schedule III is advocated. It can be seen that relieving pain using the drug Vicodin is an ethical principle but this can be violated to produce the greatest benefits to the greatest number of people while producing the least harm to the greatest number of people.
The consequences of the decision are likely to impact on the stakeholders involved in various ways. First and foremost, it should be noted that the patients who rely on the Vicodin drug for pain relief are likely to suffer the consequences of removing it from schedule III. The removal should not be abrupt but should be done in a gradual way so that another alternative can be found to serve the same purpose. However, on a different note, it can be seen that the removal of Vicodin from schedule III is likely to present greatest benefits to the greatest number of people in the long run. Indeed, the short term consequences may hurt the affected stakeholders but the long term benefits of removing the drug from schedule III are more pronounced.
This action will help to address the problem of addiction and it can lead to total eradication of the problem. This means that if people fail to access the drug, they are likely to resort to other methods of relieving pain without the use of drugs that can lead to addiction. Once people get used to the proper methods of relieving pain without getting addicted, it can be seen that the problem of drug addiction would have been solved once and for all. The problem of drug addiction has serious consequences to the healthcare of different people hence it is a noble idea to eradicate it than to cure it. In this case, it is a good idea to adopt the following golden rule: “Prevention is better than cure.” This ethical principle is correct since it has many benefits to many people.
Szalavitz, M. (January 31, 2013). Time. “FDA Action on Vicodin May Mean More Pain, Not Less Addiction or Overdose: Stricter rules for prescribing opioids may not be the only answer to curbing addiction to painkillers.” Retrieved from:
Josephson Institute of Ethics. “Making Ethical Decisions: Model.” Retrieved from: