“In a powerful documentary, The Pain Project, India’s leading palliative care specialist, Dr. M. R. Rajagopal, explains that India’s narcotic regulatory agencies are so irrationally stringent that in 27 of the country’s 28 states doctors simply avoid prescribing morphine for cancer pain, for fear of running afoul of the law,” writes Ronald Piana in the article Dying Without Morphine, published in the New York Times on September 30, 2014. The author notes that despite the World Health Organization’s statement that access to pain treatment, including morphine, is an essential human right, about six million terminal cancer patients around the world endure suffering because they do not have access to morphine.
The Pain Project is a documentary by the International Reporting Program on the situation in India, Ukraine and Uganda. The International Reporting Program found that “a combination of bureaucratic hurdles and the chilling effect of the global war on drugs are largely to blame, leaving humanitarians scrambling to work outside the law — or change the law — to bring relief to suffering patients all over the world.”
“Untreated cancer pain is a human disaster not unlike famine; its victims are starving for relief,” writes Ronald Piana. “Witnessing a clinic full of poor children with advanced cancer, crying in agony, should convince anyone that access to morphine is a human right.”