Vatican Official Criticizes Drug Industry

A top Vatican official lamented that producing urgently needed medicines is no longer driven by traditional medical ethics, but by money. The lack of basic, life-saving medicines means the world risks “a humanitarian and global health care disaster,” said Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski, president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry, at a gathering of the International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists in Poznan, Poland. “Often, for economic reasons, common diseases in developing countries are neglected because…they do not constitute a lucrative enough market,” the archbishop said in remarks aired on Vatican Radio on Sept. 13. Archbishop Zimowski also highlighted the problem of counterfeit antibiotics and vaccines, which can result in prolonged illness or death or the development of drug-resistant bacteria. According to the World Health Organization, such drugs account for as much as 30 percent to 50 percent of the market in developing countries.

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