Online Course

Every day throughout the world, millions of adults and children suffer physical pain after accidents, surgery, and from chronic diseases like cancer and AIDS. Unrelieved pain can have devastating effects on quality of life. Although there are many drug and non-drug approaches to treating pain, opioid analgesics play an essential role in relieving moderate to severe pain. However, most of the world's population lacks access to opioid medications, especially in low- and middle-income countries, and in some developed countries as well.

About This Course

This course is about the relationship between government policies that affect the medical availablility of opioid analgesics and patients who experience moderate to severe pain.  It is critically important for health care professionals and government drug regulators, as well as advocates involved in the area of palliative care and pain relief, to understand the government policies that control opioid analgesics and how they can impact medication availability and patient access to opioid analgesics.

This Course is Aimed at:

  • health care professionals

  • government administrators

  • drug regulatory personnel

  • national health policy advisors

  • health policy scholars

The course has 7 lessons, each with required readings.

The content presented in each lesson builds on the content from previous lessons. Content presented in later lessons is presented in such a way that presumes the user has been introduced to concepts from earlier lessons and readings. Therefore, lessons must be completed in order. Uninterrupted connectivity to the Internet is paramount for the submission of quizzes. Lessons are available for download in PDF format to enable the user to read them off-line.


The course should take between 10 and 12 hours to complete.

This is a self-paced course that can be taken at the convenience of the learner.  After reading the lesson, the user will be directed to the corresponding quiz. The quizzes are drawn from the material in the lesson and from the required readings. Upon completion, the user will 'submit' each quiz, which will then notify us of the user's score.


There is no cost to the user to take this course

This is a non-credit course and does not provide credit toward a degree program or continuing professional education credits. However, users wishing to earn a certificate must attain a score of 80% or higher on each of the quizzes and also provide their Full Name and Email in the appropriate boxes.

If these requirements are met, the Pain & Policy Studies Group will email an official certificate (in PDF format) to the email address provided.  Please allow up to 4 weeks to receive this certificate following completion of the course and submission of all quizzes.

Note:  The entire course is available in English, including the quizzes for each lesson.  Lessons 1, 3, 4, and 7 are also available in Spanish and Russian; however, these lessons do not include translations of the quizzes. Therefore, it is only possible to earn a certificate by completing the quizzes in English.

Excerpts from this course may be quoted with the following citation:

Pain & Policy Studies Group. Increasing Patient Access to Pain Medicines around the World: A Framework to Improve National Policies that Govern Drug Distribution.

University of Wisconsin Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center. Madison, Wisconsin, 2008

Begin the Online Course

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Walther Global Palliative Care & Supportive Oncology

IU School of Medicine & IU Simon Comprehensive Cancer Center

540 Barnhill Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: +1-(317) 278-4006