11. Claire argues with her father that selling antibacterials are not like selling rivets. He disagrees, to which she responds: "You don't think there's well, a human right for people to be able to receive an antibacterial at two cents a dose if that's what it costs to produce? Okay, at a dollar to allow for a hefty profit, but surely not as much as two hundred dollars for one shot?" How would you answer this? Companies often do spend a great deal of money in research and development, which they want to recoup. But how much profit is enough, or are there no limits, no matter the cost to other human beings?
12. With the lives of millions of soldiers at stake, the war department claimed the patents on penicillin's means of production to ensure that no single drug company could either have a monopoly on this essential "war weapon" or to divert government funding into other more lucrative research of their own. Do you think this was a good or necessary thing to do? What might have happened if they decided to let the free market take care of production?
13. Before doctors can discover cures, they need to do an enormous amount of medical testing. In A Fierce Radiance, some of the subjects were given drugs without knowing the possible side effects. Some of these were interned Japanese Americans. Should they have been told what could happen if they received the medication? Rutherford felt using them as test subjects was a necessary byproduct of saving the many, especially when the drugs saved their lives. Others felt these "Japs"—whom they viewed as possible enemy sympathizers or combatants—didn't deserve such knowledge. What do you think?
14. The government lackey, Andrew Barnett, tells Claire, there is "no morality in war." Do you agree with this? Is "winning at any cost"—if it includes murder and letting a killer go free—victory?
15. What did you take away from reading A Fierce Radiance?
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