Without laws that ensure the availability of controlled medicines, countries may not have a balanced drug control policy that can guide the actions of agencies that control drugs and satisfy the expectations of patients and caregivers.
Even though a country may have ratified the Single Convention, the absence of legislation establishing the government’s responsibility for ensuring drug availability means that health professionals may find it difficult to convince government agencies that drugs should be made available for medical needs, especially if government officials believe that, for example, pain medicine should be strictly controlled.
Another area of inquiry is to investigate the extent to which governments are able to manage policies and systems that prevent the diversion and abuse of controlled medicines without interfering with their availability for medical purposes. The results would provide the evidence needed for guiding the assessment, planning and systematic improvement of drug control and availability policies and for consolidating our understanding of how such policies affect medication availability and patient care. Research could also be carried out on why United Nations’ guidance on ensuring drug availability has not been accessible to governments until recently, whereas guidance on the strict control of drugs has been thoroughly investigated. In addition, it would be useful to understand why ensuring the adequate availability of narcotic drugs was included in the preamble to the Single Convention after it was amended by the 1972 Protocol but was not mentioned in the original version of the Convention.
- Access to controlled medicines
For more information, please read the full report.