More than half the world’s population live in countries in the developing world, where barriers to the accessibility of opioid analgesics or a lack of availability of these pain medications leave patients without access to the appropriate agents to manage pain from cancer (Cherny NI et al. Ann Oncology. 2013;24[suppl 11]:xi7-xi13).
Researchers for the Global Opioid Policy Initiative project assessed the availability and accessibility of 7 opioid medications considered essential for the relief of cancer pain, in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. The drugs include codeine, oral oxycodone, transdermal fentanyl, and morphine. This project was a follow-up to the group’s earlier evaluation of the issue in Europe.