Opioids in palliative care

The College has received reports recently of physicians refusing to prescribe opioids for cancer or palliative care patients. As is clearly stated in Safe Prescribing of Drugs with Potential for Misuse/Diversion:

"The College acknowledges the appropriate role of pharmacotherapy in the context of active cancer, palliative, nursing home and end-of-life care."

The College recognizes that the goals and expectations regarding prescribing to palliative and active cancer patients are different from those for chronic non-cancer pain, and that the same standards may not apply in this context. Physicians must use good clinical judgement and compassion to issue adequate and appropriate opioid prescriptions for such patients.