The Heinz Dilemma:
In Europe, a woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. the drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $400 for the radium and charged $4,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money and tried every legal means, but he could only get together about $2,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying, and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So, having tried every legal means, Heinz gets desperate and considers breaking into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife.
After reading the Heinz Dilemma above, please answer the following questions:
- Should Heinz steal the drug? Explain your reasoning.
- Does Heinz have a duty or obligation to steal the drug? Why or why not?
- If Heinz doesn’t love his wife, should he steal the drug for her? Does it make a difference in what Heinz should do whether or not he loves his wife?
- Suppose the person dying is not his wife but a stranger. Should Heinz steal the drug for the stranger?
- Is the druggist immoral in his decision to not provide Heinz with the drug? Why or why not?
- In general, should people try to do everything they can to obey the law?
- How has your own culture shaped your answers to questions 1-5? Please be detailed in this response.
- How might someone from another culture answer differently? Please be detailed in this response.