DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     November 22, 1999     vol. 10, no. 221

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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PAPAL APPEAL TO PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

Health Cannot Be Privilege

        VATICAN CITY, (ZENIT).- The international congress, which was held in the Auditorium of the Synod from November 18-20, at the initiative of the Pontifical Council for Health Pastoral Care, addressed the question of the relation between economics and health, a question which has already elicited a response from John Paul II, during his welcome to the 500 persons who participated in the congress.

        "It is intolerable that the limitation of economic resources, which is experienced in many places today, especially affects the weak fringes of the population and the less well off areas of the world, depriving them of the necessary health care," the Holy Father said.

        The Pontiff's words were particularly explicit: "At the same time, it is not admissible that this limitation leads to the exclusion of health care at certain stages of life or situations of special fragility and weakness as, for example, newborn life, old age, severe handicap, terminal illnesses." In virtue of his dignity, every person has the right to "enjoy the benefits offered by progress, science, technology and medicine." the Pope stated.

    Health and Globalization

        The Pope acknowledged that it is not the Church's role to define the economic models and health systems that are the most appropriate to resolve the difficult relation between economics and health. But, "in the context of globalization, her mission consists in doing everything possible so that the question will be addressed and resolved in light of those ethical values that foster respect and safeguard the dignity of every human being, beginning with the weakest and poorest."

        John Paul II expressed with "heartfelt sorrow" that the "breach between situations of wealth -- even blatant wealth, and poverty, which at times is reduced to indigence, instead of decreasing becomes ever greater." An issue which in the specific case of health reaches dramatic repercussions.

        According to the Pope, the solution necessarily spells an awareness of the dignity of the person and of the totality of human interdependence, which should lead to an increase in the sense of duty in solidarity.

        "Only from this horizon can an economic vision, which is reductive of health, be overcome." Moreover, for Christians, solidarity reaches new horizons thanks to the virtue of charity, which -- both aspiring and being inspired in the love of God -- establishes a relation of love with men, "especially with the weakest brothers, among whom are the sick."

    Appeal to Governments and Pharmaceutical Industries

        After expressing his closeness to the sick, and launching an appeal "to governments and international agencies so that at the moment of addressing the relation between economics and health they will be guided only by the common good," he asked the pharmaceutical industries "not to make profit prevail over human values, but to show their sensitivity to the needs of those who do not enjoy social security, by undertaking initiatives in favor of the poorest and marginalized."

        Finally, the Pope referred to the necessity to overcome the differences existing among countries and continents exhorting "the more advanced countries to make available to the less developed [countries] their experience, technology, and part of their economic wealth." ZE99111903


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November 22, 1999       volume 10, no. 221
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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