Persistent Lack of Safe Access to Morphine Despite Its Clear, Well-Established Role in Pain Relief

Categories: Policy.

Last month, the World Health Organization published Left Behind in Paina report on the extent and causes of global variations in access to morphine for medical use and actions to improve safe access. This month, we asked Kiusiang Tay-Teo, WHO’s Technical Officer in the Department of Essential Medicines and Health Products, to give us a more personal glimpse.

1. What was the WHO’s impetus for this report?

The WHO is committed to improving safe access to essential opioids for medical use and, as the report states, “morphine is considered the most basic essential medicine for managing acute or chronic, moderate to severe pain, particularly in palliative care. It is also less expensive than other derivative and synthetic opioids, such as oxycodone and fentanyl, which have been associated with the ‘opioid overdose epidemic’ in a few high-income countries.”

As noted by the Assistant Director General, “Leaving people in pain when effective medicines are available for pain management, especially in the context of end-of-life care, should be a cause of serious concern for policy-makers.” We think that the global community must come together to provide timely and safe access to morphine for those in medical need through balanced policy, everywhere.

This extract was published with permission from the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care and you can read the article in its entirety HERE.

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