ADDRESS OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS
TO THE MEMBERS OF THE "BANCO FARMACEUTICO" FOUNDATION
Paul VI Hall
Saturday, 19 September 2020
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I welcome you. I thank the President of the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation for the kind words he addressed to me. As you recalled, this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the birth of Banco Farmaceutico: happy birthday! From that initial intuition, a long way has been made. In addition to being present in Italy, you also operate in other countries.
Those who live in poverty are poor in everything, including medicines, and therefore their health is more vulnerable. Sometimes there is the 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", and this we must say. This creates a further gap between nations and between peoples. On the ethical level, if there is the possibility of curing 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 that drug that is available in other regions, or that vaccine. We know the danger of the globalization of indifference . Instead, I propose that you globalize care, that is, the possibility of access to those drugs that could save many lives for all populations. And to do this we need a common effort, a convergence that involves everyone. And you are the example of this common effort.
I hope that scientific research can progress to always seek new solutions to old and new problems. The work of many researchers is precious and represents a magnificent example of how human study and intelligence are capable of growing, as far as possible, new paths of healing and treatment.
Pharmaceutical companies, by supporting research and directing production, can generously contribute to a more equitable distribution of drugs.
Pharmacists are called to carry out a care service in proximity to the most needy people, and in science and conscience they work for the integral good of those who turn to them.
Even the rulers, through legislative and financial choices, are called to build a more just world, in which the poor are not abandoned or, worse still, discarded.
The recent experience of the pandemic, in addition to a major health emergency in which nearly a million people have already died, is turning into a serious economic crisis, which still generates poor people and families who do not know how to move forward. While charitable assistance is being carried out, it is also a question of combating this pharmaceutical poverty, in particular with the widespread diffusion of new vaccines in the world. I repeat 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 nation, and was no longer for everyone. It must be universal, for everyone.
Dear friends, thank you very much for the service you carry out on behalf of the weakest. Thanks for what you do. Drug Collection Day is an important example of how generosity and the sharing of goods can improve our society and bear witness to that love in the proximity that is required of us by the Gospel (cf. Jn 13:34). I bless all of you present here, your families. I bless and ask God to bless all of you who, as the president said, are of different religions. But God is the Father of all and I ask: God, bless all of you, your families, your work, your generosity. And, since priests always ask, I ask you to pray for me. Thank you.