Regulatory Barrier to the Use of Opioids for Cancer Pain

While national governments have to take action to stop drug abuse, appropriate pain relief is often hampered by lack of availability or barriers to accessibility of opioid analgesics. In many countries, poorly written laws and regulations restrict access to opioids analgesics and interfere with the medical availability of opioids for the relief of cancer pain. In many of these countries, logistics of these medications is so burdensome and complex that for physicians, nurses and pharmacists do not want to get involved. [1] [2] [3]

For more information:
[1] Over-regulation of Opioid Analgesics Makes it Catastrophically Difficult to Provide Basic Medication to Relieve Strong Cancer Pain. Onco’Zine – The International Oncology Network, November 27, 2013 [Article]
[2] Global Opioid Policy Initiative project to evaluate the availability and accessibility of opioids for cancer pain management. Annals of Oncology, December 24, 2013 (Supplement 11) [Supplement]
[3] Cherny NI, Baselga J, de Conno F, Radbruch L. Formulary availability and regulatory barriers to accessibility of opioids for cancer pain in Europe: a report from the ESMO/EAPC Opioid Policy Initiative. Ann Oncol. 2010 Mar;21(3):615-26. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp581 [Article][PubMed]

Illustration: The map summarizes the number of regulatory barrier types that prevent cancer patients from accessing opioid analgesics for treating pain. Illustration courtesy: ESMO Pain & Policy Studies Group.

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