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Presentation of the study on Access to Controlled Medicines in Panama

Recently, UNODC presented the results of the Study on Access to Controlled Medicines Panama (2017-2018). This activity is part of the objectives of the "Joint Global Program on access to controlled drugs for medical purposes", carried out by UNODC in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the International Union against Cancer. The Joint Program aims to increase access to controlled drugs for medical and research purposes, while preventing the diversion or abuse of these substances.

The presentation of the study was attended by the Vice Minister of Health, Dr. Eric Ulloa, who reported on the progress of Panama regarding ​​controlled medicines. Moreover, the event gathered different personalities such as Mrs. Elizabeth Mattefeld, the global coordinator of the Joint Program, the Mgter Rosa Buitrago, Dean of the Faculty of the University of Panama and researcher, and Mrs. Melissa Flynn, Director of Operations and Programs of UNODC.

Current data indicates that more than 80% of the world population does not have an adequate access to these medicines. Consequently, in more than 150 States, there are people suffering from moderate or severe pain, due to the lack of access to these substances.

The Study on Access to Controlled Drugs in Panama represents a contribution from UNODC to help improve the access to these substances, within the framework of the sustainable development goals -specifically the objective of Welfare and Health; and the operative guidelines of the Special Session of the United Nations on the problem of drugs, UNGASS 2016, which make an specific reference to the need to increase access to these substances for medical purposes.

The main recommendations issued by the study indicate the importance of continuing education to improve access to controlled medicines for pain relief, since it helps to reduce barriers due to lack of knowledge.

The results of the study also constitute a basis for key stakeholders to meet and discuss widely the perceptions and strategies to strengthen access to controlled medicines.