Sam, a graduate student in anthropology, received a summer grant to study tribal life in the Amazon River basin. Before he embarked on his scholarly journey, Sam visited his family physician. The doctor warned Sam that malaria outbreaks often reached epidemic proportions in the Amazon basin and prescribed a three-month supply of medications.
Sam packed the medicine and arrived in an active malaria region. After settling into a village, Sam saw that many local people were quite ill with malaria. Since he had a large supply of medicine, much more than he needed for his personal use, he wondered if he had a moral obligation to distribute the surplus to the sick villagers or whether doing so would be ethically wrong. Giving the medicine would interfere with the tribal people's time-honored ways of healing the sick through religious rituals involving dances, chants and animal sacrifices. Briefly describe how ethical universalism and cultural relativism are relevant to the situation; (2) raise two problems that you feel Sam should ask as he decides whether or how to share his anti-malaria medicine; (3) offer your judgment as to what Sam should do. Provide two reasons why he should take your recommended course of action.