Vatican Condemns Drug Companies for Profiting From AIDS Drug Sales, Setting High Prices in Developing Countries
The Vatican on Thursday condemned pharmaceutical companies for making large profits from the sale of antiretroviral drugs in developed countries while pricing the drugs at costs that are unaffordable for millions of HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa, AFP/Yahoo! News reports (AFP/Yahoo! News, 1/29). Archbishop Paul Cordes, president of the Vatican's charity organization, said that the Vatican has undertaken several public and private initiatives to pressure drug companies to lower antiretroviral prices for developing countries, according to Reuters (Reuters, 1/29). "This is a moral issue which shows the lack of social conscience by these capitalistic enterprises, which could easily save the lives of the 25 million sub-Saharan Africans who are HIV-positive and otherwise doomed," Father Angelo D'Agostino, a Jesuit priest who runs an AIDS orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya, said, according to Agence France-Presse. Pope John Paul II on Thursday in his Lenton message urged the world community "not to close its eyes" to millions of people living with HIV/AIDS in developing countries, particularly the approximately 2.5 million HIV-positive children (Barnett, Agence France-Presse, 1/29). "These children are dying because they don't have the medicines," Cordes said (ANSA, 1/29). The World Health Organization estimates that there are approximately 11 million AIDS orphans in Africa, according to Agence France-Presse. The pope said that the Vatican would establish a foundation to oversee the construction of an AIDS orphan village near Nairobi, where the Kenyan government has donated land for such a purpose (Agence France-Presse, 1/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.