Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787
MACHADO, Marina Amaral de Ávila et al. Judicialization of access to medicines in Minas Gerais state, Southeastern Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2011, vol.45, n.3, pp. 590-598. Epub Apr 01, 2011. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89102011005000015.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the profile of claimants and medicines demanded in lawsuits. METHODS: Descriptive study that examined 827 lawsuits with 1,777 demands of access to medicines in the period between July 2005 and June 2006 in the state of Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil. There were examined the type of health care provided to claimants and their attorneyship. The medicines were described based on the following: drug registration at the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa); wheter they were essential medicines; supply in the Brazilian Health System programs; and evidence of drug efficacy. RESULTS: More than 70% of the claimants were provided care in the private health system and 60.3% hired private lawyers. The most common diagnosis of claimants was rheumatoid arthritis (23.1%) and the immunosuppressant agents were the most frequent demand medicines (mainly adalimumab and etanercept). Approximately 5% of the medicines demanded were not registered at Anvisa, 19.6% were included in the Brazilian List of Essential Medicine, 24.3% were included in the High-Cost Drug Program and 53.9% showed consistent evidence of efficacy. Among the medicines that were not available in Brazilian Health System, 79.0% had therapeutic alternatives in drug programs. CONCLUSIONS: The phenomenon of judicialization of health in Brazil can point out failures in the public health system as some medicines demanded are included in its lists. However, it is a barrier for rational drug use and application of the National Drug Policy guidelines, especially when there are demanded medicines with no evidence of efficacy and that are not included in Brazilian Health System standards.
Keywords : Pharmaceutical Services; National Drug Policy; Right to Health; Judicial Decisions.