Is there a difference between a hamburger and a pill?

“If we continue to make life palatable for them [Russians] then we are continuing to support the regime.”

Is there a difference between a hamburger and a pill?
Over 320 American and European companies have now suspended their business operations in Russia. Consumers in Moscow and other Russian cities can no longer purchase iPhones, order their favorite Starbucks latte, or enjoy a Big Mac.

But they can purchase medicines and fill their prescriptions at pharmacies like the one in today’s picture. They can do this because western pharmaceutical companies are currently exempt from U.S. and European sanctions.

Executives from big pharma giants such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer argue that they have an ethical responsibility to continue supplying drugs, vaccines, and medical equipment to their Russian patients. The Chief Financial Officer at Johnson & Johnson defended his company’s position by arguing, “If our products don’t get to the patients in need, people will die or have severe consequences.”

The reluctance of drug makers to suspend their Russian operations has met with a chorus of criticism. Yale business professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld has denounced the continuing sale of health care products to Russia as “misguided” and “deplorable.” He argues, “If we continue to make life palatable for them [Russians] then we are continuing to support the regime.”

Pharmacy

The growing controversy over exempting health-care products from the list of sanctions raises important moral and strategic questions. Is there a difference between a hamburger and a pill? Would suspending essential medicine enable Putin to turn public opinion against the United States and Europe? On the other hand, isn’t there a contradiction between selling essential products to Russia while Putin’s war machine bombards Ukrainian cities and forces over 2.5 million innocent women and children to flee their homeland?

Larry Krieger

Larry Krieger

Author · Instructor

In a career spanning more than 40 years, Larry Krieger taught a variety of AP subjects including Art History, U. S. History, European History, and American Government. Mr. Krieger has published popular books that have enabled students across the country to be confident in their abilities when facing AP and SAT exams.

AP Test Prep Books

Fast Review, AP U.S. History 2022 Exam
US History

The Insider’s FAST REVIEW

Doing the DBQ, AP U.S. History 2022 Exam
US History

Doing the DBQ

US History

A Strategic Review
second edition

Art History

Volume 3 | Beyond the European Tradition with Global Contemporary

US History

The Essential Content