Journal of the American Medical Association   |  January 2, 2008

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Medical availability of effective pain medication is vitally important domestically and globally. Medical advances have substantially improved the technical capacity to control pain and diminish its consequences. Worldwide, millions of persons with chronic, acute, and terminal conditions have found relief from excruciating pain through medical intervention. However, richer countries have disproportionately benefited from improvements in access to and use of pain medication. The tragedy is that for most of the world’s population, particularly persons in poorer countries, effective pain control is entirely unavailable.

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