Will this Parliament Session bring relief to people in pain?
2013 December 5
The Winter session of the Indian Parliament begins for nine days today, the 5th of December 2013. We hope that in this session, the Parliament will take up the Amendment to the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The Amendment, that would ensure easier access to morphine, has been pending with the Parliament of India for a year. The last two sessions had failed to take it up. If passed, this would bring relief to the millions in pain from cancer, HIV / AIDS or other diseases.
India has at least a million cancer patients who need pain-relief and another 25 lakhs living with HIV. Current statistics show that morphine is available to only 1% of these patients.
India’s consumption of medical morphine, which was over 600 kilograms in 1985 when the NDPS came into existence, came down to a mere 38 kilograms in 1998.
We are doing all we can to bring the matter to public attention and to advocate with the Parliamentarians. Pallium India has again written to individual parliamentarians both by snail mail and email. We have also submitted to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister, a petition signed by about 175 prominent physicians in the country. The State Minister for Parliamentary affairs, Mr Rajiv Shukla has personally promised all support. Likewise, the whole palliative care community of this country is working hard to talk to individual ministers and to members of Parliament.
On the down side, this is a short session. The pressure will be more than in previous sessions.
We can only hope for the best.