Pope decries the injustice of pharmaceutical marginality

Pope Francis is decrying the injustice of pharmaceutical marginality. Those who live in poverty are poor even in medicines, treatment and health, he says.

He spoke on the subject to 300 representatives of the Italy-based Fondazione Banco Farmaceutico (Medicine Bank Foundation) on its 20th anniversary.

Members collect medicines from donors and companies to deliver them to over 1,800 charities that take care of people in difficulty.

Francis told the Foundation that sometimes people “run the risk of not being able to get treatment for lack of money, or because some people in the world do not have access to certain medicines.”

He noted pharmaceutical marginality “creates a further gap between nations and peoples.”

“On the ethical level, if there is the possibility of curing a disease with a medicine, it should be available to everyone, otherwise it creates an injustice,” he explained.

Francis also lamented that too many people and children are dying because they cannot have the medications that are available in other regions.

Warning against the danger of globalization of indifference, he proposed the globalization of treatment.

This would offer the “possibility of access to those medications that could save so many lives for all populations.”

A “common effort, a convergence that involves everyone” will be needed if all people are to have access to medicines, he said.

He suggested scientific research could help find new solutions to old and new problems, including new paths of healing and treatment and pharmaceutical companies could help contribute to a more equitable distribution of medicines.

Pharmacists could help by being particularly attentive to those most in need and work for the integral good of those who approach them.

He called on those in authority with legislative and financial choices to build a more just world in which the poor are not abandoned or discarded.

The current pandemic is increasing the number of poor people and families who don’t know how to get on in life, Francis noted.

“While charitable assistance is being provided, it is also a matter of fighting this pharmaceutical poverty, in particular with a wide spread of new vaccines in the world,” he said.

“It would be sad if in providing the vaccine, priority is given to the richest, or if this vaccine became the property of this or that country, and not for everyone,” he said.

Through its Medicine Collection Day over the past 20 years, the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation has collected over 5.6 million medicines worth some €34 million.



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