Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 17 News List

Lacking drugs, world's poor die in agony

Though opium is cheap and could be made readily available, millions of the world's poor are dying in excruciating pain

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.  /  NY Times News Service , WATERLOO, SIERRA LEONE

At the National Pharmacy Board, the head of pharmaco-vigilance, Wiltshire Johnson, the chief of the enforcement arm, explained why painkillers were not imported.

Scarce funds must go to the top five causes of death, he said: diarrhea, pneumonia, tuberculosis, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases. "I'm not saying that palliative care doesn't top the list, too," he said. "But it's officially a very small percentage of the requirement."

Though opium is cheap and could be made

readily available, millions of the world's poor are dying

in excruciating pain

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

NY Times News Service,

WATERLOO, Sierra Leone

"

It's the intense fear of addiction, which is often misunderstood. Pain relief hasn't been given as much attention as the war on drugs has.

- David Joranson, director of the Pain Policy Study Group

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