WHO pushes for lifting of international control on ketamine | Global News

WHO pushes for lifting of international control on ketamine

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 12:02 AM December 10, 2015

MANILA, Philippines — The World Health Organization (WHO) has again recommended that ketamine, which is used as an anaesthetic and analgesic drug, should not be placed under international control.

The WHO issued the statement following the review of the latest evidence by the agency’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence.


It was the fourth time since 2006 that WHO made such a recommendation.

In a statement posted on its website, WHO says that the Committee has concluded that ketamine abuse does not pose a global public health threat, while controlling it could limit access to the only anaesthetic and pain killer available in large areas of the developing world.


“The medical benefits of ketamine far outweigh potential harm from recreational use,” said Marie-Paule Kieny, assistant-director general for Health Systems and Innovation at WHO. “Controlling ketamine internationally could limit access to essential and emergency surgery, which would constitute a public health crisis in countries where no affordable alternatives exist.”

Ketamine is an anaesthetic used in surgical and diagnostic procedures.  It is often the only anaesthetic agent available in most developing countries and is also used for pain management.

In 1985, ketamine was placed on the WHO Essential Medicines List and was recently described as “for sedation of both children and adults … perhaps the most widely used agent in the world.”

In recent years, however, ketamine has also been used recreationally, which has prompted moves to control the substance under international law.

“We have found that placing substances under international control can often limit access to them for medical purposes,” said Kees De Joncheere, WHO Director for Essential Medicines and Health Products.

He cited morphine as a case in point.

“Even though it (morphine) is inexpensive and one of the best substances available for pain management, in most countries availability and use are limited due to excessive regulation,” he said.  SFM

Subscribe to our global nation newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: anaesthetic drug, analgesic drug, Drug Abuse, Global Nation, Health, international control, ketamine, Medicines, morphine, pain killer, pain management, pharmaceutical drugs, restriction, WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence, World Health Organization
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our global news

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.