Published Online: Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI called on the world's pharmacy and political leaders to recognize the right of Catholic pharmacists to refuse to dispense emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs.

During a meeting in the Vatican with a number of Catholic pharmacists, the Pope said that conscientious objection was a right that must be acknowledged by the pharmaceutical profession worldwide. Additionally, the Pope said that pharmacists themselves have an obligation to inform patients of the ethical problems associated with the use of certain drugs.

"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," said Pope Benedict.

According to the Pope, conscientious objector status would enable pharmacists "not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes."

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