Sample Ethics Paper on Failure in Leadership

There exist evidence of failures in ethical leadership among organizational executives. Martin Shkreli, a creator and former managing director of Turing Pharmaceuticals, committed an example of real-life leadership failure. The leadership failure committed by Shkreli encompassed the inflation of the price of a lifesaving drug known as Daraprim. According to Dishman (2015), Daraprim had been in the market for more than 62 years, and patients purchased it at the price of $13.50 per tablet.  However, after acquiring the drug, Shkreli increased its price to $750 per tablet.

The increase in price was done despite the fact that Daraprim was used in the treatment of a life-threatening infection known as toxoplasmosis that affected expectant women and their fetus as well as people whose immune systems have been compromised. The increase in the price of the drug made it costly and inaccessible for patients, for it meant that one had to have thousands of dollars to buy several tablets required for treatment (Dishman, 2015). Therefore, Shkreli’s greedy decision exposed many patients to the risk of death or worsening health conditions due to the lack of accessibility to the drug as a result of its expensiveness.

            Possibly, the ethical leadership failure could have been mitigated if the individual did not ignore ethical boundaries and used self-control. Additionally, Thornton (2016) states that it would have been prevented if Turing Pharmaceuticals had enforced ethical leadership and behavioral standards. The organization should have also published a policy document that outlined unethical behaviors, which are not allowed and are subject to punishment by the law and the organization. Perhaps, had these measures been in place, Shkreli would not have contemplated raising the price of the drug.



Dishman, L. (2015). The 10 Best and Worst Leaders of 2015. Retrieved March 1, 2020, from

Thornton, L. F. (2016). Understanding and Preventing Ethical Leadership Failures. Retrieved March 1, 2020, from