Pope Francis met with the members of the organisation that is celebrating its 20 years. the foundation is present in several countries like Afghanistan, Lebanon, Niger, Libya, Kosovo, Djibouti, Somalia, Venezuela, South Sudan and Syria, supporting medical aid projects. Pope calls for action against “pharmaceutical marginality”.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis this morning spoke to a delegation from Italy’s Fondazione Banco Farmaceutico, an organisation that works with volunteers, pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies to provide medicinal drugs to the poor.
“Medicine Collection Day is an important example of how generosity and the sharing of goods can improve our society and bear witness to the love in proximity that is required of us by the Gospel” (cf. Jh 13:34).
The audience was held to mark 20 years since the foundation’s creation. Every year, the Banco Farmaceutico holds a Medicine Collection Day, usually in February, when individuals and pharmacies are invited to buy or provide medicines for the poorest.
Over the past two decades, the organisation has worked in various countries around the world, supporting medical aid projects in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Niger, Libya, Kosovo, Djibouti, Somalia, Venezuela, South Sudan and Syria.
“Those who live in poverty,” Francis said, “are poor in everything, including medicines, and therefore their health is more vulnerable. Sometimes there is a risk of not being able to be treated for lack of money, or because some populations of the world do not have access to certain drugs.
"There is also a 'pharmaceutical marginality'. This creates a further gap between countries and peoples. At the ethical level, if there is the possibility of treating a disease with a drug, this should be available to everyone, otherwise an injustice is created.
“Too many people, too many children still die in the world because they cannot have a drug that is available in other places. We know the danger of the globalisation of indifference; I propose instead to globalise treatment, that is, the possibility of providing access to those drugs that can save many lives for all peoples. To do this, a common effort is needed, a convergence that involves everyone.”
With respect to the current situation, marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the pontiff noted that "it would be sad if in providing the vaccine, priority was given to the richest, or if this vaccine became the property of this or that country, and it was not for all.”
Lastly, the Holy Father called on pharmaceutical companies to "contribute to a more equitable distribution of drugs” and on rulers to "build a fairer world, in which the poor are not abandoned.”