Unrelieved pain from cancer and HIV/AIDS is a substantial worldwide public-health problem. Inadequate pain relief is partly due to excessively strict national drug-control policies that constrain medical use of essential medicines such as morphine. Romania’s drug-control policies are more than 35 years old and impose an antiquated regulatory system that is based on inpatient post-surgical management of acute pain that restricts prescription authority and makes access to opioid treatment difficult for outpatients with severe chronic pain due to cancer or HIV/AIDS. A Ministry of Health palliative-care commission used WHO guidelines to assess and recommend changes to Romania’s national drug control law and regulations. The Romanian parliament has adopted a new law that will simplify prescribing requirements and allow modern pain management. Achievement of adequate pain relief is a vital part of worldwide health and will be dependent on reform of antidrug regulations in many countries.