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[e-drug] Ketamine battle rages (7) EPN Statement

E-DRUG: Ketamine battle rages (7) EPN Statement

March 4, 2015


Access to essential medicines is one cornerstone to achieving health 
goals. Without essential medicines being available when patients need 
them, bad outcomes occur. The Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network (EPN) 
has members who provide health services including surgical services in 
over 30 countries. Our members use considerable amounts of Ketamine 
saving lives through surgery often under difficult circumstances. The 
resolution to schedule Ketamine as a category 1 product that China 
proposes will lead to insufficient supply of this much needed drug 
through unwarranted controls and create bottlenecks to order and stock 
Ketamine. If current national regulations are weak, they can be 
strengthened without compromising access to this much needed essential 

The Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network and its members vehemently oppose 
the resolution by China that will result in limiting access to Ketamine, 
a life saving drug. EPN aims to improve the quality of pharmaceutical 
services provided by its member institutions and guarantee equal access 
to all without discrimination. It is an international NGO working with 
Faith Based Organizations who provide from 20 to 50% of health care 
services in most African countries by promoting access to essential 
medicines and promoting rational use of these medicines.

All EPN member facilities in over 30 countries, in Africa, India and 
Moldova use Ketamine for their surgical procedures and cannot do without 
it. In Zambia for example the Churches Health Association of Zambia's 
annual need is 7,000 10ml vials of Ketamine 50mg/ml which equates to 
35,000 anaesthetics. Our member in Germany Action Medeor, distributes 
about 16,500 vials (10 ml) of Ketamine (50 mg/ml) per year, mainly to 
small and middle-sized health facilities in Africa. The Zambian EPN 
member has stated 'Control procedures will make product availability and 
access difficulty resulting in many patients going without necessary 
surgeries'�. Other comments from members are that 'restricting Ketamine 
will constitute a death blow on many surgeries in Cameroon and 

While we appreciate regulations, they should never 
compromise access to life saving drugs and vital drugs of which Ketamine 
is one. Already hospital facilities in India are feeling the negative 
effect of not having and being able to access Ketamine for their 
patients. Regulations should promote acces to vital, essential 
medicines. Ketamine is one of the safest narcotic drugs that have saved 
many lives. We thus implore and urge your respected body to reject this 
resolution and find ways through consultations that will promote and not 
limit access to vital drugs like Ketamine.

Co-signed and supported by 26 EPN affiliates

Mirfin M Mpundu
Executive Director
Ecumenical Pharmaceutical Network
P.O. Box 749
Sarit Centre,
Nairobi, Kenya :
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