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PIA Press Release

DOH distributes pain-mitigating medicines for indigent cancer patients in 28 gov't hospitals, institutions nationwide

Tacloban City (February 6) -- At the start of 2010, the Department of Health has made available pain management tablets in 26 DOH hospitals, 1 other government hospital and 1 NGO institution, to be used by Filipino patients suffering from chronic or terminal pains.

Cognizant of the fact that pain management is one of the most important aspects of health care especially for those with chronic or terminal illnesses yet scores of Filipino patients are suffering from pain unnecessarily due to lack of accessibility and availability of opioid medicines such as morphine, the Technical Working Group for the Accessibility and Availability of Opioid for Pain and Palliative Care, in coordination with the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and other partner agencies, has initiated and implemented activities for opioid accessibility and availability in the past years.

The Technical Working Group (TWG) for the Accessibility and Availability of Opioid for Pain and Palliative Care is a multidisciplinary, multi-sectoral group that facilitates and advocates for policies that improve accessibility and availability of opioid analgesics for pain and palliative care in the country created in April 2008.

Eliminating pain is clinically possible as there are a number of safe and effective methods that treat pain such as opioid analgesics such as morphine, yet it is often left untreated because access to these controlled medications is a problem for many. Impediments in regulation, procurement, and knowledge and attitude on opioids often pose obstacles in the adequate use of these drugs for medical purposes.

The DOH procured an estimated P10 million worth of morphine at the end of 2008. These drugs were then turned over to selected government hospitals and hospices in Metro Manila in February 2009 to be used by indigent patients suffering from pain. The drugs were distributed to at least 10 DOH hospitals by July 2009, and were increased to 16 DOH hospitals by September 2009. At the start of 2010, the morphine tablets are available in 28 DOH hospital all over the country.

A report at the DOH website identified the five hospitals in the National Capital Region as the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, UP Philippine General Hospital, and Quirino Memorial Medical Center.

The other DOH hospitals include the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Batanes General Hospital in Region 1; the Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City and the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Nueva Viscaya for Region II; the Jose B. Lingad General Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga and Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City for Region III; the Madre de Amor Hospice Foundation c/o Healthserve Los Baños, Inc. in Laguna and the Batangas Regional Hospital in Batangas City for Region IV-A; and the Ospital ng Palawan in Puerto Princesa City for Region IV-B.

Pain tablets are also available at the Bicol Regional Training & Teaching Hospital in Albay for Region V; Corazon Locsin Montelibano Memorial Regional Hospital in Bacolod City and Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City for Region VI; the Gov. Celestino Gallares Memorial Hospital in Bohol and Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu City for Region VII; and the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center in Tacloban City for Region VIII.

For Region IX, pain tablets are available at Zamboanga City Medical Center in Zamboanga City; Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro and Hilarion Ramiro Memorial Hospital in Ozamis City for Region X; Davao Medical Center in Davao City and Davao Regional Hospital in Davao City for Region XI; Cotabato Regional & Medical Center in SOCCSKSARGEN for Region XII; and CARAGA Regional Hospital in Surigao City for Region XIII. (PIA 8) [top]

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