alexa Formulary availability and regulatory barriers to accessibility of opioids for cancer pain in the Middle East: a report from the Global Opioid Policy Initiative (GOPI).


Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine

Author(s): Cleary J, Silbermann M, Scholten W, L Radbruch, J Torode

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The Middle East is a heterogeneous region with substantial variability in social development, wealth and palliative care development. The region has few democracies, strong but diverse religious affiliations, and many of the region's counties are involved in political upheavals or regional conflicts. While the global consumption of opioids has increased throughout the last 30 years, there has been little increase in opioid consumption in the Middle East. This is the first comprehensive study of opioid availability and accessibility of opioids in the Middle East. Data are reported on the availability and accessibility of opioids for the management of cancer pain in 16 of 24 countries. The data are relevant to 329 million of the region's 403 million people (82%). The survey found that with the exception of Israel, opioid availability continues to be low throughout most of the Middle East. Formulary deficiencies are severe in several countries in particular Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Palestine and Tunisia. Even when opioids are on formulary, they are often unavailable, particularly in these same countries. Access is also significantly impaired by widespread over-regulation that is pervasive across the region.

This article was published in Annals of Oncology and referenced in Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine

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