October 18, 2011
At its annual General Assembly in Montevideo, Uruguay, the World Medical Assocation (WMA) put forward a series of proposals to improve patients’ access to adequate pain treatment.
A WMA resolution states that people facing pain have a right to appropriate pain management, including effective medications such as morphine. Denial of pain treatment violates the right to health and might be medically unethical. Countries should review their drug control policies to ensure they do not unnecessarily restrict the availability and accessibility of controlled medicines for the treatment of pain. Each government should also provide resources for the development and implementation of a national pain treatment plan, including a responsive monitoring mechanism for receiving complaints when pain is inadequately treated.
Dr. Mukesh Haikerwal, chair of the WMA, said: “Physicians and other health care professionals have an ethical duty to offer proper clinical assessments to patients with pain and to offer appropriate treatment. This may require prescribing medications, including opioid analgesics. We would like to see instruction on pain management included in the mandatory curricula and continuing education for physicians and other health professionals. And Governments must ensure the adequate availability of controlled medicines, including opioids, for the relief of pain.”
Source: WMA website