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Only the poor die screaming

By Gwynne Dyer      

Pain-relief drugs are quite cheap, yet 25 million people still die in agony each year, mostly in poor countries.

Why haven't governments intervened to force down the prices of painkillers for lower-income countries in the same way they've done for antiretrovirals to control AIDS? 'I don’t think we have cared enough about poor people who have pain,' says researcher Felicia Knaul. Photograph courtesy of Eric Norris

LONDON, U.K.—If you had a million dollars to spend (but not on yourself), where would it do the most good? Well, the cost to cover morphine or a morphine-equivalent pain-relief treatment for all the sick children younger than 15 years who are in serious pain in low-income countries would be just $1-million per year. About half of those children are going to die, but with morphine at least they wouldn’t die screaming. That’s how a great many people

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