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Morphine: Developing Countries

Volume 488: debated on Tuesday 24 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to provide morphine supplies to developing countries for medical purposes; and if he will make a statement. (255481)

The Department for International Development (DFID) is working with the Foreign Office, the Home Office, and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), to press for greater recognition of the importance of access to controlled medicines, including oral morphine, at the forthcoming Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2009. This is being supported through a DFID-funded post in the UK Mission in Vienna. We are also working with the US Government to identify pilot countries in which we can support greater access to oral opiates for pain relief and for use in harm reduction interventions for injecting drug users.

Major legal and regulatory barriers to access for strong analgesics, such as oral morphine, have been identified in many countries in DFID commissioned research studies. We have discussed these barriers with experts from multilateral agencies and national governments, and developed a programme of work aimed at overcoming them. Further information on DFID funded research is available on the DFID website:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/