BBC: Doctors used as 'guinea pigs' in opioid painkiller promotion (3)

18 May, 2019

Dear Venus,

You point out that "It is critical to provide the right information to the correct audience on the dangers of opioid abuse... All efforts done, in my opinion, should however be such that those requiring to access opioids for management of pain are not disadvantaged in the process."

This final part of your message is perhaps even more important than the first, especially in LMICs. Arguably, more suffering is caused worldwide by failure to access adequate pain relief than by healthcare-initiated addiction. In some LMICs up to 90% of patients with terminal cancer pain do not have any access to opiate analgesics. As we have discussed previously on HIFA, 'this is largely due to myths and misconceptions among the public, frontline health workers, and policymakers', with misplaced and exaggerated concerns about the addiction potential of prescribing opiates.

HIFA is currently seeking funding for a new HIFA Palliative Care project to explore these issues in depth.

Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator HIFA Project on Information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: