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2016 Berg Cup Addresses CSR in the Pharmaceutical Industry

The University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration welcomed undergraduate business students from across North America for an international edition of the annual Berg Cup business ethics competition.

The David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership, in conjunction with the University’s Phi Beta Lambda Chapter (PBL), organizes and hosts the Berg Cup.

The subject of this year’s case was the Zika virus and issues of corporate social responsibility associated with the development of a vaccine. 

Participating universities included the University of Calgary, University of Delaware, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Universidad Panamericana in Guadalajara, University of Pittsburgh, Providence College, University of Syracuse, and University of Vermont.

Pitt business student Matthew Leavy, a sophomore who is majoring in accounting and finance and is enrolled in the Certificate Program in Leadership and Ethics, co-wrote the case with Clinical Associate Professor of Business Administration and Mehta Family Faculty Fellow Ray Jones and Associate Dean and Berg Center Director Audrey J. Murrell.

“The main question participants attempted to answer was, ‘What is social responsibility for a pharmaceutical company in the face of a highly contagious virus that some experts predict could reach epidemic levels in the near future?’” Leavy said. “Issues such as patent protection of new vaccines as well as marketing drugs for uses not approved by the FDA add to the complexity of coming to a conclusion.”

In the competition’s final round, Providence College won first place, winning $4,000.  The University of Calgary came in second place for a prize of $2,000.  Among the four teams who did not advance to the final round, the University of Delaware won the $1,000 prize in the Business Ethics Simulation.

Cole Sterrett, a Pitt Business finance major, was part of the University of Pittsburgh team. 

“Being that there is no one right answer to the case, it was exciting to see the creativity come out of some of my peers,” Sterrett says. “Aside from the competition itself, I really enjoyed meeting and getting to know some of the teams from around the country.”

The Berg Cup is one of a number of student-focused activities that the Berg Center coordinates each year.  Visit the Berg Center website for more information.