THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In connection with the World Cancer Day 2012 on February 4, Pallium India, the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), the Pain and Policy Studies Group and the WHO Collaborating Centre at the University of Wisconsin, have released a Morphine Manifesto.
Signed by leading organisations and foundations from around the world, including those for cancer, pain management, and hospice & palliative care organisations, this manifesto calls for an end to the unethical practice of promoting expensive opioid painkillers without making low cost immediate release oral morphine available. Furthermore, it calls upon governments, health care institutions, and the pharmaceutical industry to assure the accessibility of immediate release morphine to patients in need at a cost that the individual and community can afford.
Dr M R Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, and the driving force behind the creation of the Morphine Manifesto, said that prolonged unrelieved pain destroys the mind, destroys the body and destroys families.
“Inexpensive and effective immediate release morphine can relieve most of the pain. We cannot call ourselves a cultured or ethical society if we deprive this relief to those in pain, or worse yet, benefit financially from this suffering by forcing expensive, unaffordable alternatives on them,” he said. In low and low-middle income countries, immediate release oral morphine is not available. The opioid formulations are generally very expensive and this high cost hinders access to treatment to the vast majority of patients.
“Access to low-cost immediate release oral morphine would be a great start in bringing effective pain management to 83 percent of the world’s population with low or non-existent access to opioid analgesics,” said Dr Jim Cleary, Director of the University of Wisconsin Pain & Policy Studies Group.
The Morphine Manifesto said that the governments should minimise the impact of regulatory requirements on manufacturing, import, export and distribution of painkillers to increase the availability of immediate release oral morphine.
“We hope that the manifesto would motivate governments to eliminate excessive and unnecessary regulatory requirements and work with the pharmaceutical industry to facilitate the production and distribution of medicine to all patients in need,” said Liliana De Lima, executive director of the IAHPC.