INCB participation at the Launch Symposium of the Lancet Commission Report

"Alleviating the Access Abyss in Palliative Care and Pain Relief: An Imperative of Universal Health Coverage"

MIAMI/VIENNA, 9 April 2018 - INCB participated in the Launch Symposium of the Lancet Commission Report "Alleviating the Access Abyss in Palliative Care and Pain Relief: An Imperative of Universal Health Coverage", which was held on 5 and 6 April 2018 at the University of Miami.

Ambassador David Johnson, member of the Board, addressed the symposium, referring to the Board's mandate and work towards ensuring the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes. The Board member emphasized the need for countries and international organizations to take action to close the pain divide, for example through the implementation of recommendations of the 2016 INCB report on ensuring adequate medical access to opioids analgesics and psychotropic substances for medical purposes. Those recommendations were reflected in the outcome document adopted at the United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem held in 2016.

Ambassador Johnson noted that the Lancet Commission report, which used INCB consumption data as well as its own "serious health-suffering indicator", clearly showed that dying in pain is an affront to the dignity and human rights of the affected individuals and their families.

As long as analgesic drugs remain inaccessible to most people around the world, patients will not be able to derive the health benefits to which they are entitled under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Reference was also made to the negative consequences of over-prescription and excess availability in some countries of opioid analgesics.

National drug control regulations need not become obstacles to access to medicines for people in need of pain relief. Governments need to review domestic legislation, streamline and simplify regulations and administrative procedures and remove those that are unduly restrictive while maintaining appropriate control mechanisms that are in accordance with the international drug control treaties.

Opioid analgesics, as well as other medicines containing controlled substances, need to be affordable and accessible. It is also crucial that countries have the capacity to implement appropriately their regulations and procedures and be able to make adequate estimates and assessments for the consumption of controlled substances. For this, there is a need to provide adequate training to competent national authorities. INCB is providing such training through the INCB Learning project.

 

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