Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In receiving participants to the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists, Pope Benedict XVI said that respect for the human person must impel Catholic pharmacists to reflect upon the consequences of medical treatments that prevent the start of life or accelerates its end. They must also consider the unacceptability of using humans as experimental “objects” and address the issue of conscientious objection.
For the Holy Father, Catholic pharmacists have an “educational role” vis-à-vis their patients and must therefore take into account the “ethical implications of certain drugs” like those “whose purpose it to prevent an embryo from implanting itself or to shorten a person’s life.”
In his view, “pharmacists must raise awareness [in the public] in order that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death, and that drugs truly play a therapeutic role.”
“Moreover,” he said, “no individual may be used thoughtlessly as an object to undertake therapeutic experiments.” Such experiments “must be carried out following protocols that respect fundamental ethical norms.”
The Holy Father stressed that “all attempts at treatment or experimentation must be undertaken with the wellbeing of the person concerned clearly in mind, and not only be based upon the pursuit of scientific progress.” Indeed, “the quest for the good of humanity cannot proceed at the expense of the wellbeing of the people being treated.”
Benedict XVI insisted that conscientious objection “is a right that must be recognised for people exercising this profession so as to enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”
Finally, the Pontiff told Catholic pharmacists that they have a responsibility to “help young people who enter the pharmaceutical professions to reflect upon the increasingly sensitive ethical implications that their actions and decisions may have.”