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Pope Benedict XVI has said that Catholic pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs.
And he told a gathering of pharmacists at the Vatican that they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.
In a speech delivered to the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists, the Pope said that conscientious objection is a right that must be recognised by the pharmaceutical profession.
“Pharmacists must seek to raise people’s awareness so that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death, and so that medicines truly play a therapeutic role,” he said.
The Pope said conscientious objector status will enable pharmacists “not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia”.
He also said that pharmacists need to ensure patients are educated in order to guarantee that drugs are used in a morally and ethically correct way.
He said: “We cannot anaesthetise consciences as regards, for example, the effect of certain molecules that have the goal of preventing the implantation of the embryo or shortening a person’s life.”
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