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January 19, 2005

And the Spanish Roman Catholic Church Actually Has Some Bishops...

Via Pandagon:

USATODAY.com - Catholic Church in Spain shifts policy on condoms: ...the spokesman for the Catholic Church in Spain has said it supports the use of condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. "Condoms have a place in the global prevention of AIDS," Juan Antonio Martinez Camino, spokesman for the Spanish Bishops Conference, told reporters after a meeting Tuesday with Health Minister Elena Salgado to discuss ways of fighting the disease.

The Catholic Church has repeatedly rebuffed campaigns for it to endorse the use of condoms in the fight against AIDS. The Vatican states that condoms, because they are a form of artificial birth control, cannot be used to help prevent the spread of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Martinez Camino said the church's stance was backed by the scientific world. He cited a recent study by experts in the medical magazine Lancet that supported the so-called "ABC" approach of abstinence, being faithful to partners and using condoms. "The Church is very worried and interested by this problem," he said...

Posted by DeLong at January 19, 2005 08:45 AM

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India's Choice

For an AIDS patient in a poor country lucky enough to get antiretroviral treatment, chances are that the pills that stave off death come from India. Generic knockoffs of AIDS drugs made by Indian manufacturers - now treating patients in 200 countries - have brought the price of antiretroviral therapy down to $140 a year from $12,000.

That luck may soon run out. India has become the world's supplier of cheap AIDS drugs because it has the necessary raw materials and a thriving and sophisticated copycat drug industry made possible by laws that grant patents to the process of making medicines, rather than to the drugs themselves. But when India signed the World Trade Organization's agreement on intellectual property in 1994, it was required to institute patents on products by Jan. 1, 2005. These rules have little to do with free trade and more to do with the lobbying power of the American and European pharmaceutical industries.

India's government has issued rules that will effectively end the copycat industry for newer drugs. For the world's poor, this will be a double hit - cutting off the supply of affordable medicines and removing the generic competition that drives down the cost of brand-name drugs.

But there is still a chance to fix the flaws in these rules, because they are contained in a decree that must be approved by Parliament. Heavily influenced by multinational and Indian drug makers eager to sell patented medicines to India's huge middle class, the decree is so tilted toward the pharmaceutical industry that it does not even take advantage of rights countries enjoy under the W.T.O. to protect public health....

Posted by: anne at January 19, 2005 08:59 AM

It's interesting to see an incident like this and recall the argument from The Reformation by Diarmaid McCulloch that one reason why Spain didn't have much of a reformation is that the Catholic church there was already quite a bit independent from Rome, and therefore not subject to the same tensions of Church versus Ruler as in other countries. Old tendencies die hard, apparently.

Posted by: P O'Neill at January 19, 2005 11:49 AM

P O'Neill,
My reading on the inquistion confirms some of what you just said. Except in the case of the inquistion to Pope was trying keep the spanish form out of italy and also to reduce its severity in spain and elsewhere. He was not very successful in either case.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert at January 19, 2005 06:25 PM

You do realize that the Spanish Church has clarified its position, which turns out to be nothing like what this report, based, I believe, on Reuters, claims it to be?

Posted by: walons at January 20, 2005 07:20 AM

Someone took a hatchet to the Bishops' bishops.

MADRID (AFP) - The Spanish Roman Catholic Church denied that it had condoned the use of condoms as a legitimate way of fighting HIV/AIDS.

"Contrary to what some have said, it is not true that the Church has changed its position on condoms," the Spanish bishops' conference said in a statement.

Posted by: Milo Schotz at January 20, 2005 08:15 AM

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