In the middle of 2011, PPSG received an email from our long standing friend and colleague, Dr Rajagopal, in Kerala, India, seeking our advice on some drug marketer. The company was claiming that there was clear evidence to support the use of Sustained release morphine over immediate release morphine. The papers quoted were mainly papers from the 1990s. His concern? That the company was promoting SR Morphine, a much more expensive product, over IR morphine.
I have seen this before in many places. China in the mid 90s when a military hospital was not using readily available IR Morphine because “pharma” indicated the new standard was SR morphine. Romania, where with the approval of new drug availability laws, Pharma moved in very quickly to promote various forms of longer acting opioids. And here was Raj seeing it in India.
In email exchanges with the PPSG and Eric Krakauer at Harvard, Raj outlined what he considered the unethical nature of this process. Very early on, we involved Lilliana De Lima of the International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care. IAHPC’s Essential Drugs List for Palliative Care includes a statement that countries should ensure the access of IR morphine before ensuring the availability of the longer acting morphine.
The result of this work?
Have a look, sign your name in support and let’s make the 2012 World Cancer Day a day of action for improved opioid access throughout the world. Promote, share, tweep, like and whatever else you do with your social media tools.
Thanks to Raj for taking the lead on this and Rakesh, a volunteer with Pallium India, for all his excellent work on the website.
Spread the word!!!!