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Policy, drugs and pain control resources

Help the Hospices and other organisations provide resources for those who are setting up or developing hospice and palliative care services and need to know more about drugs and pain control.

Reports and documents

Help the Hospices report

Access to Pain Relief – an Essential Human Right was published by Help the Hospices for the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, and has an introduction by the World Health Organization.


The report investigates the widespread lack of access to pain relief available to terminally ill people in many parts of the world. It highlights the fact that cost is not usually the main barrier but rather:

  • lack of education and training

  • bureaucracy

  • legislation

  • fear of addiction

  • abuse

  • tolerance and/or side effects

  • poorly developed health systems.


The report looks at pain relief with reference to other advanced and terminal diseases including AIDS, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and renal disease. It also includes findings of a specially commissioned survey of medical staff in 69 hospice and palliative care services across Africa, Asia and Latin America.


Essential medicines

The List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care is a background document and list of essential medicines for palliative care. You can download the document from the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) website.



The Pain and Policy Studies Group

The Pain and Policy Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin is a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Policy and Communications in Cancer Care. The site links to all essential World Health Organization (WHO) publications, an online course and other relevant sites.



PalliativeDrugs.com provides essential, comprehensive and independent information for health professionals about the use of drugs in palliative care. It highlights drugs given for unlicensed indications or by unlicensed routes and the administration of multiple drugs by continuous subcutaneous infusion.