Human Rights Watch and Pallium India has urged the government to make changes to the country’s drug laws to improve availability of strong pain drugs.
Though the government introduced amendments to the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the Parliament has not considered the proposal, they said.
Pallium India chairman M R Rajagopal said that amending the Drug Act could help spare millions who were suffering from pain.
The proposed amendments would give the Centre the authority to regulate narcotics drugs, he said.
Rajagopal also said that a recent study of pain prevalence by Pallium India at four major cancer hospitals in the country underscored the importance of the amendments.
In the case of morphine, which is considered an essential medicine for treatment of strong pain from cancer and other illnesses, many of the hospitals, including major cancer institutions, refused to stock it as procuring the medicine is very complex.
The strict regulations direct that hospitals and pharmacies should obtain four or five licences, which complicates the issue.
As the law leaves regulation of narcotics drugs to the states and the Union Territories, the Centre cannot force them to carry out simplified regulations.
Rajagopal was of the opinion that if the amendment was made, it would be a major step towards ending the tragic reality.