Thousands of cancer patients, including children, and some of them in the terminal stage of the disease, continue to face miserable and painful deaths in Pakistan

28 Jul 2022

The most effective opioid drugs for pain relief, including Morphine and Fentanyl, are not being provided to major healthcare facilities in Pakistan, The News has learnt.

Interviews with senior oncologists across the country revealed that even some major tertiary care hospitals that treat cancer patients, including Combined Military Hospitals of Pakistan Army, Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital (SKMH) Lahore and Peshawar, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH) and Indus Hospital Karachi, are also facing extreme difficulties in acquiring Morphine and Fentanyl to relieve pain of under-treatment cancer and other terminally ill patients.

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Expressing their helplessness in giving Morphine and Fentanyl for pain relief, some oncologists (cancer specialists) have started advising family members of the terminally-sick cancer patients to arrange for the medicines on their own, despite knowing that both medicines are not sold in pharmacies and even most influential hospitals are unable to acquire them for their patients.

Confirming the difficulties in acquiring Morphine and other opioid painkillers for cancer patients, former Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr. Faisal Sultan said even Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital faces difficulties in acquiring Morphine and Fentanyl as the “approval process is lengthy”.

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