INCB presents at WHO's Global Conference on NCDs

MOTEVIDEO/VIENNA, 19 October 2017 - The International Narcotics Control Board's (INCB) President, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, addressed the World Health Organization's (WHO) Global Conference on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs). Speaking at the plenary meeting 'NCDs through a broader lens', Dr. Sumyai drew attention to an often-neglected group of NCDs within the substance use disorder cluster, namely drug use disorders. He emphasized that, like other mental health disorders, drug use disorders require greater attention.

Dr. Sumyai noted that it was imperative to ensure access to affordable medicines for the treatment and management of NCDs, including the management of pain associated with some NCDs. For this, it is necessary to have sufficient numbers of trained health care professionals in the field of pain management. The supply of opioid raw materials is more than sufficient to meet the reported demand, and cost should not constitute an obstacle to access and affordability as morphine is relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. As a barrier to access and affordability, the pharmaceutical industry seems to prefer to market newer, higher-cost formulations, rather than low cost medicines, such as morphine.

Calling on countries to close the "global pain divide," Dr. Sumyai urged Governments to ensure that their laws and regulations facilitate appropriate use and access.  To do this, he urged States to engage with the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the availability of affordable medicines, and ensure that their healthcare professionals were able to advise, diagnose and treat.

Dr. Sumyai's statement is available here.

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