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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 20, Issue 4, Winter 2020

Deacon Gregory K. Webster
Pages 709-723

Broadening the View of Catholic Social Teaching and the Cost of Pharmaceuticals

Catholic Social Teaching (CST), in considering economic and patient justice, calls for “participating in patient care.” Corporations often are accused of not paying their fair share, which in turn has led to demands for government regulation to lower drug prices in the United States. Meanwhile, the millions of dollars spent by pharmaceutical foundations to help lower-income patients is not seen as corporations’ taking such responsibility to assist patients. The view that CST demands lower costs for prescription pharmaceuticals from corporations that make excess profits misapplies CST principles and does not consider the pricing structure for drugs on a global scale. While a preferential option for the poor is needed, there needs to be a better definition of the poor. This paper looks to broaden the view of CST in regard to corporations and the preferential option for the poor when applied to the current cost of pharmaceuticals.