Published on: May 18, 2011

A new report, Uncontrolled Pain: Ukraine’s Obligation to Ensure Evidence-Based Palliative Care, from Human Rights Watch found that tens of thousands of patients with advanced cancer in Ukraine unnecessarily suffer from severe pain every year because they cannot get effective, safe, and inexpensive pain medications.

Listen to the accompanying HRW podcast with Diederik Lohman and Dr. Victoria Tymoshevska here:

The report describes Ukrainian government policies that make it impossible for cancer patients living in rural areas to get essential pain medications. While most cancer patients in cities have access to some medications, the treatment they receive is inadequate and provides only limited relief. Download the full report here…

Vlad’s story is shown in this video from the Stop Torture in Health Care campaign:

Fifty Milligrams Is Not Enough

Vlad is suffering from incurable brain cancer. Despite his chronic pain, doctors in Ukraine are only able to prescribe minimal amounts of morphine due to bureaucratic restrictions. He is allowed only 50 mg of pain medicine per day. In another country, doctors would typically prescribe more than 2,000 mg for a patient like Vlad.