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12 Jan, 2013

IPS – Morphine Kills Pain but its Price Kills Patients

BULAWAYO, Jan 11 2013 (IPS) – It took Gily Ncube’s daughters two weeks to sell enough chickens to raise the 18 dollars needed to buy the morphine tablets their mother takes every four hours.

In a country where unemployment is estimated at 70 percent, 18 dollars for a bottle of 60 tablets of 10 milligrammes (mg) each is a steep price to pay, equivalent to about 18 loaves of bread.

But the small, rural family had no choice – morphine is the only drug that eases Ncube’s pain so she can get to sleep at night.

Ncube (not her real name) has stage four cancer of the cervix and is now almost completely bedridden. Even more than treatment, she desires some relief from the pain brought on by her condition.

Morphine, a controlled drug derived from opium, provides Ncube and other patients like herself a little comfort. A daily dose of about 40 mg enables Ncube to sit up, even do a few chores around the house.

But at current prices, few can afford the drug, or access it when needed.

Read the rest: IPS – Morphine Kills Pain but its Price Kills Patients | Inter Press Service.