an addictive, synthetic drug made chiefly in small toxic labs
(STLs) in homes, tents, barns, or hotel rooms. The manufacturing
process is dangerous, often resulting in explosions,
burns, and toxic fumes. The government has spent considerable
resources to find and eradicate STLs, imprison meth
dealers and users, treat addicts, and provide services for families
affected by these activities. Meth cannot be made without
ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which are ingredients in
cold and allergy medications. Arkansas has one of the highest
numbers of STLs in the United States. In an effort to recoup
the costs of dealing with the meth epidemic, twenty counties
in Arkansas filed a suit in a federal district court against
Pfizer, Inc., and other companies that make or distribute
cold and allergy medications. What is the defendants’ ethical
responsibility in this case, and to whom do they owe it? Why?
[Ashley County, Arkansas v. Pfizer, Inc., 552 F.3d 659 (8th Cir.