By Kristin Marin, Talking Drugs

Guatemala’s government recently issued an official instruction that will increase restrictions around the access to controlled medicines. This will include morphine, one of the most vital analgesics in treating moderate-to-severe pain.

Controlled medicines are those scheduled under the international drug treaties. Twelve of these medicines – morphine being one of them – are listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as essential medicines.

Under the new Guatemalan initiative (see below), a number of new bureaucratic hoops have been created for people to jump through when trying to access these medicines. As of July 31, people seeking to obtain a prescription for a controlled medicine on behalf of a patient will have to present a signed and stamped letter of request which must contain a copy of their ID along with the document’s number. Any time there is a change in the person responsible for requesting the prescription – even while the patient in question remains the same – this letter will have to be presented.

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