Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2015; Volume 16, No 8, August

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear readers,

In this edition there are several important invitations to participate in projects that help increase access to medicines:

Earlier this month, Dr. Katherine Pettus, the IAHPC Advocacy Officer on Palliative Care and Human Rights, published articles and sent tweets to the civil Society Task Force Survey for UNGASS 2016. The UNGASS (UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem) will provide an opportunity to review world drug policy during the Special Session to be held April 19-21 in New York. World drug policy directly affects palliative care because it frames policies that control national, regional, and local access to internationally controlled essential medicines, such as morphine and other opioids.

This includes the voices of civil society organizations through the Civil Society Task Force, a 27-member body that includes representatives from all the world’s regions, as well as ’affected populations’. Dr. Pettus represents populations with low to no access to essential controlled medicines for pain and palliative care. The members of the task force have been asked to collect information from partners for a baseline survey regarding what they know about UNGASS and which outcomes they hope for and expect. We hope that there is significant participation from the palliative care community to ensure that the issue of access to medicines for palliative care and pain treatment is included. To help with this, we prepared a document to assist participants in answering questions to the survey. To participate in the survey, read more and learn how you can become involved click here.

We recently announced the second phase of Opioid Price Watch – a project to monitor and report the dispensing price of opioids around the world. This project is as a component of the agreement of work as an NGO in formal relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and is funded with grants from the US Cancer Pain Relief Committee and Atlantic Philanthropies. Click on the OPW announcement in this newsletter to participate and help us report on the prices of opioids around the globe. Participants will receive three months of IAHPC free membership!!

And be sure to read the excellent letter sent to the journal PAIN by Doctors Willem Scholten Pharm D. and Jack E. Henningfield, PhD on the misuse of low-quality data for drawing conclusions on opioid dependence. In a letter-to-the-editor, they contest the outcomes of a systematic review published in the same journal in the April edition on opioid addiction, abuse and misuse. Scholten and Henningfield argue that the results from the study are invalid because of the low quality and heterogeneity of the studies included. This points again to the importance of clear definitions so as to guarantee access to those who need controlled medicines for legitimate needs. Summaries of the letter have been published in ehospice and in the EAPC blog.

To celebrate the launching of Windows 10, Microsoft started a campaign to help charities worldwide called "Upgrade Your World". The company has selected 9 global charities and are inviting people to vote for a 10th global nonprofit to participate. This is a great opportunity to help advance hospice and palliative care globally! Please join us in our efforts by posting the following message in your Facebook pages and tweeting the following phrase:

I vote for @IAHPC to #UpgradeYourWorld #Vote

Even if we do not win, this will help increase awareness and spread the palliative care and hospice care message across the globe.

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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