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Vatican official says poor countries need access to drugs

A top Vatican diplomat said drug companies should be required to make essential medicines available to poor countries at an affordable price.

Addressing a meeting at the World Trade Organisation on Wednesday, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin proposed that pharmaceutical firms absorb the costs of medicine development by drawing on their revenues from cosmetics.

His address was released by the Vatican on Friday.

The intellectual property council of the Geneva-based organisation was holding a special session on access to medicines, following an April workshop on the same theme co-sponsored by the World Health Organisation.

Click here to read the text of the address.