Published on: November 30, 2023

In a significant step towards improving palliative care in the state of Himachal Pradesh, Pallium India organized a workshop on opioid availability for the state healthcare professionals. The session, led by Dr. M R Rajagopal, Chairman Emeritus of Pallium India and Director of the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), aimed to shed light on the crucial role of essential narcotic drugs and the regulatory framework surrounding their procurement, stocking, and dispensing.

Dr. Rajagopal delivered a comprehensive presentation emphasizing the importance of essential narcotics in managing pain effectively. He delved into the norms and regulations governing these drugs, providing valuable insights to the healthcare professionals in attendance.

The online session witnessed the participation of key figures in the healthcare and regulatory landscape of Himachal Pradesh. Shri Navneet Marwah, the State Drug Controller, led his team of Assistant Drug Controllers and Drug Inspectors into the workshop. Also present were Deputy Director National Health Misson (NHM)- Himachal Pradesh Dr. Gopal Beri and the Director of the Directorate of Health Services (DHS) Himachal, Dr. Rakesh Sharma Director Medical Education and Research – HP , NPPC Nodal Officer Dr. Gopal Chauhan, and several doctors and other health officials from the state.

Following Dr. Rajagopal’s enlightening presentation, a vibrant discussion ensued among the officials. Dr. Gopal Beri, Deputy Director NHM HP, expressed commitment to improving the availability of morphine and other essential narcotic drugs in the government hospitals of the state. This commitment reflects a pivotal step towards ensuring that patients in need have access to vital pain management resources.

Shri Navneet Marwah, the State Drug Controller, reinforced his commitment to supporting institutes applying for RMI Certificate. This certificate is crucial for healthcare institutions that seek to procure and dispense essential narcotic drugs. His encouragement for more institutions to apply for RMI signifies a proactive approach to enhancing palliative care services across the state. Government institutes are deemed RMIs hence exempted from this process of certification but they still need to follow the process of submitting the annual estimates and maintaining documentations like an RMI.

The workshop not only provided valuable information but also set the stage for collaborative efforts between healthcare professionals and regulatory authorities in Himachal Pradesh. The assurance of support from both Dr. Gopal Beri and Shri Navneet Marwah signals a promising future for improved opioid availability in the state, ultimately contributing to enhanced palliative care services.

(Prepared by Dr Jatin Bhukal, Regional Facilitator, Pallium India.)

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