open access

Vol 13, No 4 (2019)
Review paper
Published online: 2020-01-03
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Access to opioid analgesics for palliative care patients in Ukraine: problems of past and present

Sofiya Shunkina, Bohdan Hromovyk, Kateryna Dorykevych, Marat Korolyov
DOI: 10.5603/PMPI.2019.0022
·
Palliat Med Pract 2019;13(4):187-196.

open access

Vol 13, No 4 (2019)
Review articles
Published online: 2020-01-03

Abstract

The results of research of the Ukrainian Palliative and Hospice Care League show that every year at least 600
thousand people with incurable illnesses (cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis, and others) need palliative
care. However, nowadays the realisation of the right to a dignified death for incurable patients is difficult
because of numerous problems of legislative, organisational, technical, personnel, and moral-ethical nature.
Therapy of chronic pain syndrome is a significant problem for palliative patients in Ukraine, who do not
receive adequate analgesia. There is non-compliance with the World Health Organisation recommendations
for pain relief, a strict and complicated legal framework for narcotic medicines and licensing of health
care facilities (and the reluctance of such establishments to obtain a license), collisions with prescribing of
opioids, fear of doctors to prescribe high doses of analgesics for patients, and the lack of appropriate skills
and experience in the treatment of chronic pain in medical specialists. That is why the access of patients
to analgesic drugs is limited.
However, despite the numerous problems, since 2013 there have been positive changes, in particular, on
the writing of prescriptions for opioids for palliative care patients.

Abstract

The results of research of the Ukrainian Palliative and Hospice Care League show that every year at least 600
thousand people with incurable illnesses (cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, tuberculosis, and others) need palliative
care. However, nowadays the realisation of the right to a dignified death for incurable patients is difficult
because of numerous problems of legislative, organisational, technical, personnel, and moral-ethical nature.
Therapy of chronic pain syndrome is a significant problem for palliative patients in Ukraine, who do not
receive adequate analgesia. There is non-compliance with the World Health Organisation recommendations
for pain relief, a strict and complicated legal framework for narcotic medicines and licensing of health
care facilities (and the reluctance of such establishments to obtain a license), collisions with prescribing of
opioids, fear of doctors to prescribe high doses of analgesics for patients, and the lack of appropriate skills
and experience in the treatment of chronic pain in medical specialists. That is why the access of patients
to analgesic drugs is limited.
However, despite the numerous problems, since 2013 there have been positive changes, in particular, on
the writing of prescriptions for opioids for palliative care patients.

Get Citation

Keywords

palliative care; opioids; availability; pain relief; legislation

About this article
Title

Access to opioid analgesics for palliative care patients in Ukraine: problems of past and present

Journal

Palliative Medicine in Practice

Issue

Vol 13, No 4 (2019)

Article type

Review paper

Pages

187-196

Published online

2020-01-03

DOI

10.5603/PMPI.2019.0022

Bibliographic record

Palliat Med Pract 2019;13(4):187-196.

Keywords

palliative care
opioids
availability
pain relief
legislation

Authors

Sofiya Shunkina
Bohdan Hromovyk
Kateryna Dorykevych
Marat Korolyov

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