Globally, cancer incidence and mortality are increasing, and most of the burden is shifting to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where patients often present with late-stage disease and severe pain. Unfortunately, LMICs also face a disproportionate lack of access to pain-relieving medicines such as morphine, despite the medical and scientific literature that shows morphine to be effective to treat moderate and severe cancer pain.
Treatment of pain caused by cancer in Italy has been reported to be inadequate for more than a decade. The problem has been documented in the literature by International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) reports that show Italy's low consumption of morphine, and by INCB statements reflecting concern that pain medications are not adequately available to suffering cancer patients. The reasons for undertreatment include lack of physician education, low public awareness about pain management and overly restrictive regulations that inhibit the prescribing of opioid analgesics.
This is an editorial piece. No abstract is available.
Group. Our purpose for making these research results available is to promote education and policy change. We ask that anyone who wishes to use the policy data published herein for the purposes of research seek permission from the PPSG.
Latin America consumes less than 2.7% of the morphine in the world, as reported by the governments to the International Narcotics Control Board. Methods to improve access to opioids for the treatment of pain have been developed by the Pain & Policy Studies Group (PPSG), a World Health Organization Collaborating Center at the University of Wisconsin. This article describes the preparation and implementation of an action plan in Colombia as a part of an international fellowship program on opioid policy developed by the PPSG and funded by the Open Society Institute.