Increasing access to medicines and reducing pain:

INCB participates at CND side event

 

  

VIENNA, 22 March 2019 - In 2021 it will be 60 years since the adoption of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, yet the goal of ensuring the availability of and access to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes is still far from being universally met. The international community needs to do more.

At the Commission on Narcotic Drugs side-event on "Increasing access to controlled medicines:  addressing the global disparity in pain relief", the President of INCB, Dr. Viroj Sumyai, reminded governments and other stakeholders of the importance of ensuring availability, a matter that had been brought to the attention of the international community on many occasions, and referred to the operational recommendations contained in the outcome document of the 2016 special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem.

Dr. Sumyai welcomed the progress being made in implementation by Governments of those recommendations and those contained in INCB's 2015 report on availability. The supplement to the 2018 INCB Annual Report, entitled " Progress in ensuring adequate access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes", presented the findings of an INCB survey of Member States and civil society organizations.

There were clear indications of progress being made in the short time that had passed since 2016, and that Governments were committed to realizing the goal of ensuring adequate availability of and access to internationally controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes. However, more needed to be done in relation to training of health-care providers, the provision of low-cost palliative care services, the revision of legislation and regulatory systems, the affordability of low-cost opioid analgesics, and streamlining of export and import processes.

The INCB President concluded his statement by saying that "the goal of ensuring the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes is at the heart of the international drug control conventions, is key to achieving sustainable development goal 3 on health and well-being, and should also be at the heart of national drug control policy and practice." 

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