World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists

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144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.7.1 Access to medicines and vaccines

The World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists (WFSA) works with national member societies and other organisations to achieve universal access to safe anaesthesia, directly contributing to SDG 3 and UHC by 2030.
In addressing the concern that a lack of access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and vaccines continues to impede progress to UHC, specifically anaesthesia medicines, the WFSA calls upon the Executive Board to highlight the anaesthetic medicines essential for safe anaesthesia and therefore safe surgery. Of particular note are ketamine and potent opioids, the availability of which can – and has - been threatened by legislation that ignores their medical value. In Low Income Countries Ketamine provides 70% of anaesthetics and is the “go to” anaesthetic for C-section, essential – life saving – surgery for mothers and babies. Opioids and Ketamine are essential medicines for the management of pain, and an indispensable element of UHC.
With 134 million surgeries each year, and with millions more surgeries required to address the 30% of the Global Burden of Disease that is amenable to surgical intervention, it is essential that any plan to ensure the manufacture and supply of essential medicines includes essential anaesthetic medicines.
WFSA commends the work of the WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependency (ECDD) in helping to ensure that the medical value of these medicines translates into sensible policy and legislation. This has been especially important in informing high level debates, including at the UN General Assembly, and must continue to ensure that decision makers understand the global health arguments for essential medicines and the often negative effects of legislation on their manufacture, supply and availability. The recent decision of the ECDD to recommend that Tramadol not be placed under international control is a case in point and the WFSA will continue to advise and advocate accordingly.