Internationally controlled medicines (ICM) are those listed in the Schedules of international drug control treaties and those contained in the World Health Organization (WHO) Model List of Essential Medicines. They are essential to achieve good-quality health outcomes, as based on scientific evidence. Palliative care medicines are listed in Section 2 of the WHO Model List. Controlled medicines include natural and synthetic opioids.
The following statements may be standards to diverse health care systems:
• A number of essential controlled medicines are part of a comprehensive pharmacological approach to pain, dyspnea, as well as drug use disorder treatment. Access to controlled medicines for the treatment of these symptoms and condition is a component of the right to health.
• Availability of, and accessibility to, controlled medicines for medical purposes is dependent upon a system of services.
• All patients deserve quality health care, which includes controlled medicines, regardless of whether they live in rural and urban areas, of the level of health care system available—primary or tertiary care—of the setting: public, private hospital, clinic, home, or long-term care center.
Adapted from United Nations. Technical Guidance: Increasing access and availability of controlled medicines. Internet. Available at https://www.unodc.org/documents/drug-prevention-and-treatment/UNODC_2018_technical_guidance_on_promoting_access_at_national_level.pdf. Accessed on August 3, 2022.