INSEAD the business school for the world

Selected Case

published: 01 Jan 1991

  • Topic: Leadership & Organisations
  • Industry: Pharmaceuticals
  • Region: Europe

In October 1988, members of the Board and CEOs of Roussel-Uclaf (one of the French leaders of the pharmaceutical industry) had to decide whether or not to put on the market RU486, a pill that provokes abortion without use of surgical methods. Case (A) highlights the issues they had to consider: potential internal problems (including the risk of conflict with employees and executives who oppose the participation of the company in anything related to abortion); a possible deterioration of the relationship between Roussel-Uclaf and its parent company Hoechst (from Germany), which opposes the product; and intense public pressure accompanied by a threat of a boycott that could produce important economic losses.