A Shortage of Oral Morphine in Egypt. (Bull World Health Organ 2016;94:3)
(2016; 1 page)


Egypt, with more than 88 million residents in 2015 and an estimated 5-year cancer prevalence of more than 215 000 cases in 2012, has effectively no oral morphine. The lack of effective and affordable analgesia is catastrophic for people with end-stage cancer. Breast, liver and bladder cancers are the most common types of cancer in Egypt, and about half of cancer patients in the eastern Mediterranean Region only visit a physician when their cancer has reached an advanced – and often incurable – stage. For these patients, the focus of care is quality of life and the only realistic treatment option is palliative care.

Medical treatment is the main element in cancer pain management and for most patients, relatively inexpensive drugs like morphine are effective. For many years, morphine has been on the World Health Organization (WHO) model list of essential medicines as the strong opioid of choice because of its suitability for management of moderate to severe cancer pain.

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