WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines

In June 2019, WHO announced the revision of two pain management guidelines. A full web statement on this revision can be found here.

This page is dedicated to the revision of the document “Ensuring balance in national policies on controlled substances: Guidance for availability and accessibility of controlled medicines (2011).” This guideline is being revised in accordance to the methods and procedures outlined in WHO Handbook for Guideline Development.

Further information and regular updates on the guideline can be found on this page.

WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines (Policy guideline)

Scope: The proposed scope for this guideline has been developed and is available here.

Public hearing: A public hearing regarding the scope of the guideline took place on 19 February 2020. The written statements submitted on the guideline have been consolidated and can be found here.

Synthesis of evidenceWHO Procurement issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) from specialist technical experts. A systematic review team has been selected.

GDG members: The list of Guideline Development Group members has been confirmed and is available here. Public comments on the proposed list were accepted until 9th February 2020. The first GDG meeting was held in June 2020 to finalise the scope of the guideline. A second GDG meeting took place on 15th December 2020 to prioritise outcomes. Further GDG meetings are planned for 2021 to review the outcomes of the systematic review and evidence synthesis.

External review group: The composition of an external review group (ERG) for the revision of this guideline has been constituted.


The guideline is expected to be published in 2021.

Interim guidance: Whilst this document is being updated, countries in need of guidance on pain management can:


Contact us

Queries specifically relating to the Ensuring Balance revision may be emailed to the Secretariat: [email protected]

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