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[e-drug] Ketamine battle rages (5) BMA and others express their views

E-DRUG: Ketamine battle rages (5) BMA and others express their views

Hi all

South Africa does not have a direct vote in this case, but can try to 
influence the African and other developing countries that can contribute 
to the decision. The letter of support below is from the Guardian, as 'fair 


UK government must vote against the United Nations' ketamine control plan
Monday 2 March 2015 20.13 GMT

Proposals being brought before the UN to restrict global access to 
ketamine would leave the two billion people living in the most rural 
areas of developing countries with no alternative anaesthetic for vital 
surgeries (Ketamine control plan condemned as potential disaster for 
world's rural poor, theguardian.com, 27 February). Ketamine is an 
essential medicine used for anaesthesia. In developing countries it is 
commonly used in caesarean sections and without it many women enduring 
difficult labours would die, as they would be deprived of life-saving 
surgery. While it is not commonly used in the UK, it is used from time 
to time and would be difficult to replace.

A wide range of national and international medical organisations have 
voiced concerns about the proposals, and we are especially concerned by 
the UK government's intention to abstain on the UN vote. This, in 
reality, would amount to a vote in favour of the proposals.

Like many important medicines, ketamine is misused by a small proportion 
of the population in mainly western countries. We cannot allow this to 
stop huge numbers of people living in some of the most deprived parts of 
the world, under some of the weakest health systems, from accessing 
life-saving medicines. We are urging the UK government to listen to the 
voices of medical and international organisations and to vote against 
these proposals.

Dr Ian Wilson Chair, BMA representative body
Dr Andrew Hartle President, Association of Anaesthetists of Great 
Britain and Ireland
Dr J-P van Besouw President, Royal College of Anaesthetists
Dr Robert Bingham President, Association of Paediatric Anaesthetists of 
Great Britain and Ireland
Dr David Wilkinson President, World Federation of Societies of 
Andy Gray BPharm MSc(Pharm) FPS FFIP
* Senior Lecturer
Division of Pharmacology
Discipline of Pharmaceutical Sciences
School of Health Sciences
* Consultant Pharmacist (Research Associate)
Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)
University of KwaZulu-Natal
PBag 7 Congella 4013
South Africa
email: graya1@ukzn.ac.za or andy@gray.za.net
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