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ESMO Calls for Improved Access to Controlled Medicines for Medical Use at the 75th World Health Assembly

27 May 2022

An ESMO statement was delivered by the ESMO Director of Public Policy, Rosa Giuliani, on the topic of ‘The Public Health Dimension of the World Drug Problem’, during the World Health Assembly (WHA75), 22-28 May 2022.

Rosa Giuliani, ESMO Director of Public Policy
ESMO Statement for Improved Access to Controlled Medicines

ESMO welcomed the WHO Director General’s Report on the World Drug Problem and the need to improve access to controlled medicines which are used for legitimate medical purposes to relieve pain and suffering.

WHO statistics state only 14% of people in need of palliative care each year actually receive it due to unnecessarily restrictive regulatory barrier, and ESMO finds this unacceptable. The ESMO statement raised awareness that the ESMO Global Opioid Policy Initiative provided 10 recommendations to reduce those barriers. In addition, ESMO requested that countries at least provide patients the palliative care medicines on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, and that licensed physicians are properly trained to use opioid medications to relieve cancer pain.

The WHO report on this topic noted that WHO will publish Guidelines on the safe use and access to controlled medicines in 2022.

The WHA noted the WHO Director-General’s report and decided to request the Director-General to continue to report to the Health Assembly every two years until 2030 on WHO’s activities to address the public health dimensions of the world drug problem and progress made in the implementation of decision WHA70(18)(2017).





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