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Pope decries pharmaceutical marginality of the poor

Pope Francis wants Pharmaceutical firms to take the lead in establishing an equitable distribution of medicines

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Pope decries pharmaceutical marginality of the poor

Pope Francis waves prior to hold a limited public audience at the San Damaso courtyard in the Vatican on Sept. 16. (Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP)

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Pope Francis has decried the injustice of “pharmaceutical marginality,” saying the poor have become poorer even in medicines and treatment.

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,” Pope Francis said while addressing some 300 representatives of the Italy-based Fondazione Banco Farmaceutico (Medicine Bank Foundation) on Sept. 19.

The foundation collects medicines from donors and companies to distribute them to 1,800 charities world-wide. The Banco Farmaceutico Foundation has collected over 5.6 million medicines worth some €34 million.

“There is also a "pharmaceutical marginality,” which the pontiff said, “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."

The pope said that many people are dying because they are denied access to life-saving medications available in other regions .

Those medications can save so many lives for all populations, he said and proposed globalization of treatment in place of globalization of indifference.

This requires a “common effort, a convergence that involves everyone,” he said.

Pharmaceutical firms should take the lead in establishing “a more equitable distribution of medicines,”  Pope Francis added.

He said many poor families are struggling to  move ahead during the health crisis of Covid-19.

 “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. 

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