Interestingly, at the WIPO Conference on Intellectual Property and Public Policy Issues on 14 July 2009, WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy's statement that “the international intellectual property system cannot operate in isolation from broader public policy questions such as how to meet human needs as basic health, food and a clean environment,” closely follows Pope Benedict XVI's brilliant encyclical Caritas in Veritate, wherein it is written: "On the part of rich countries there is excessive zeal for protecting knowledge through an unduly rigid assertion of the right to intellectual property, especially in the field of health care."
What must be noted are the different emphasis between the two "statements": one is technical, the other moral. Lamy goes on to discuss the focus on technical matters:
"The effective use of the IP system and of TRIPS flexibilities is important, but does not stand alone: IP law and policy must be harnessed with drug procurement policies, pro-competition safeguards, and regulation of drugs for safety and quality. Again, no one international agency has a monopoly on these diverse areas of expertise, and the challenge of ensuring practical access to medicines requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary effort."
The encyclical has this to say:
“Truth needs to be sought, found and expressed within the ‘economy’ of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practiced in the light of truth. In this way, not only do we do a service to charity enlightened by truth, but we also help give credibility to truth, demonstrating its persuasive and authenticating power in the practical setting of social living. This is a matter of no small account today, in a social and cultural context which relativizes truth, often paying little heed to it and showing increasing reluctance to acknowledge its existence.” (2)
“The risk for our time is that the de facto interdependence of people and nations is not matched by ethical interactions of consciences and minds that would give rise to truly human development. Only in charity, illumined by the light of reason and faith, is it possible to pursue development goals that possess a more humane and humanizing value. The sharing of goods and resources, from which authentic development proceeds, is not guaranteed by merely technical progress and relationships of utility, but by the potential of love that overcomes evil with good (cf. Rom 12:21), opening up the path towards reciprocity of conscience and liberties.” (9)
“The world’s wealth is growing in absolute terms, but inequalities are on the increase. In rich countries, new sectors of society are succumbing to poverty and new forms of poverty are emerging. In poorer areas some groups enjoy a sort of ‘superdevelopment’ of a wasteful and consumerist kind which forms an unacceptable contrast with the ongoing situations of dehumanizing deprivation.” (22)