"Doctors Without Frontiers" Backs Appeal on AIDS Medicines

ROME, JAN. 30, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The international organization Doctors Without Frontiers seconded the Holy See’s appeal to the pharmaceutical industry to lower the price of AIDS medicines for patients in the Third World.

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Chiara Bannelli, spokeswoman for the organization’s Italian section, said the present situation «is a genocide.»

«In rich countries, AIDS has become a chronic illness, as there are efficacious medicines to keep the virus under control,» she said. «Unfortunately, these medicines do not arrive in developing countries, especially Africa, because of the firm opposition of pharmaceutical enterprises.»

«Pharmaceutical firms hold the patent on these medicines: They are new medicines and, consequently, are still covered by the patent,» Bannelli said today on Vatican Radio. «Therefore, multinational pharmaceutical enterprises, which in the main have their headquarters in the United States and Europe, can establish the price; they are monopolists.»

«This price is very high, it is impossible to be met by developing countries,» she lamented.

On Thursday, when presenting John Paul II’s message for Lent, Archbishop Paul Josef Cordes, president of the Pontifical Council «Cor Unum,» recalled the appeals for the lower prices by the Pope and officials of the Holy See.

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