Essential medicines and pharmaceutical policies | Events and meetings | Workshop on access to opioid medication in Europe, 25–26 February 2011

Workshop on access to opioid medication in Europe, 25–26 February 2011

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The WHO Access to Opioid Medication in Europe (ATOME) project conducted a workshop to train lawyers and national counterparts on the review of national legislation of controlled substances from the perspective of balancing availability for medical purposes and prevention of abuse. Representatives of the Romanian National Drug Agency, WHO and the Romanian Ministry of Health also attended the workshop.

The programme is part of WHO’s efforts to support Member States in developing national policies, legislation and regulations to enhance access to essential medicines. In addition, at global level the guidelines for availability and accessibility of controlled medicines “Ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances” have been finalized and submitted for executive clearance.

During the workshop various topics were discussed, including the role of opioids in pain management, ways to prevent its abuse and diversion, and the Romanian experience on how the legislation of opioids changed from restrictive to balanced. The new WHO policy guidelines for ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances and offering guidance for accessibility and availability to controlled medicines were reviewed. Various ideas concerning the methodology of working methods for the legislation review on the ATOME project were reviewed.

The ATOME project, a WHO initiative funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, collaborates with governments (ministries of health and other public services) and health care organizations in 12 eastern European countries to evaluate the accessibility and availability of controlled medicines and to develop recommendations for improved accessibility and availability.

Statistics and figures

Regional Health Observatory

Average pharmaceutical expenditure: US$ 1141 million

Average pharmaceutical expenditure per capita: US$ 57 

Average density of pharmacists: 5.02 per 10 000 population

Average number of licensed pharmaceutical manufacturers: 52

Average number of registered pharmaceutical products: 7529