Urgent request to contribute to Civil Society Task Force on access to medications

Categories: Policy.

Our community is directly and indirectly involved in world drug policy because national and international drug laws and policies regulate the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and consumption of controlled medicines and the substances from which they are derived, several of which the WHO deems to be “essential.” 

These medicines, such as morphine, form the cornerstone pain relievers for palliative care.

I am consulting you once again about our community’s asks and expectations for UNGASS 2016.

I need to present a brief statement on behalf of our community, to the Task Force as a whole, for the aggregated document. 

CSTF will then present this report to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and the UN General Assembly.

It’s an extraordinary opportunity to include your voices that we must not let pass!  

I will make a statement from the floor of CND on 12 November at the Intersessional meeting.

In crafting our community’s response for the CSTF, we are particularly interested in the thoughts of those who might not yet have contributed to the text.

We particularly need to hear from the African and Asian colleagues, because we hardly ever hear support for our issue from those member states, on the floor of CND. They need to hear your expertise!

Contributions from the global palliative care advocacy group

The paragraph below is a composite of the contributions of a web-based global palliative care advocacy group that reviewed the CND Elements Paper. 

This Elements Paper will be amended by member states.  We expect that a significant number will consult the Civil Society Task Force Document for appropriate language.

Please contact me by email to indicate whether you agree, disagree, what you would change, or modify.  I will do my best to incorporate comments and recirculate before I need to submit to the CSTF.

Global palliative care community statement to the Civil Society Task Force


Recalling that ensuring the adequate availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion and misuse, is a core objective of the UN drug control conventions;

Agreeing with the Conventions that controlled substances, including medical opioids, are indispensable for the relief of moderate to severe pain, dependence treatment, and palliative care;

Concerned about the large global gaps between clinical need, and availability of controlled substances, including the lack of research on how best to deliver services, and the lack of research on the validity of fears of “diversion and abuse,” one of the deeply embedded cultural obstacles to the development of national policies to make controlled medicines more available to health providers;

Operational Paragraphs

Urge Member States, in order to ensure that all appropriately licensed human resources who need controlled substances for medical and scientific use, have adequate access to them; to

I. Establish, through inter-ministerial focal points, trans-UN synergies, and the active involvement of civil society;

• national regulatory frameworks and health policies that include evidence-based, appropriate, use of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes;

• comprehensive research, educational and training programs for all affected human resources expected to handle and prescribe controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes;

II. Develop national indicators in cooperation with WHO, UNODC, and INCB to ensure appropriate procurement processes and clinical availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion and misuse;

III. Encourage regular updates of, and training in procurement for the WHO, IAHPC, and national model lists of essential medicines to ensure that these include controlled medicines;

IV. Promote exchange of information and best practices in designing and implementing regulatory, budgetary, educational, administrative, and other related measures, under the principle of mutual and shared responsibility.

Contact me on kpettus@iahpc.com to have your say! 

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