Progress in methadone availability for pain management in India

Categories: Policy.

Dr Rajagopal wrote: “For many years, we have been trying to make methadone available for pain management in India. We had the paradoxical situation where this medicine was being manufactured for export to other countries while our own people were denied it.

“A few years back, it was approved for sale in India for treatment of drug dependence; but not for pain management.”

Morphine is currently the only strong oral opioid available for pain management in the country. Therefore there was no second line opioid for those for whom morphine was not suitable.

“For all practical purposes,” said Dr Rajagopal, “opioid switching was only a dream in India.”

On 27 October 2015, a subject expert committee meeting was held by Central Drug Standard Control Organization.

The Pallium India newsletter reports that, despite initial resistance by the committee members, an eloquent and convincing presentation by Dr Sushma Bhatnagar, supported by documentary evidence, resulted in a change in opinion.

The committee has recommended that methadone be made available for the management of persistent pain in India.

Read the original article in the Pallium India newsletter.