Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
CHIEFFI, Ana Luiza and BARATA, Rita Barradas. "Judicialization" of public health policy for distribution of medicines. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2009, vol.25, n.8, pp.1839-1849. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2009000800020.
The supply of medicines in response to court orders or injunctions has become a common practice in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. This "judicialization" of the health system clashes with basic principles of the Brazilian Unified National Health System (SUS), such as equal opportunity to access health services. The aim of this paper is to analyze the legal action used to obtain medicines through the São Paulo State Health Department, from two main angles: judicialization of public policies and breach of the equity principle. This is a descriptive study of legal action taken to obtain medicines through the São State Health Department, as listed in the Electronic Court Docket System for the year 2006. Most cases were filed through private attorneys; 47% of the patients had obtained their prescriptions through private care; and 73% of the cases involved patients from the three wealthiest areas in the city of São Paulo. The data demonstrate that such legal action violates key principles of the SUS such as equity, thereby privileging individuals with higher purchasing power and more access to information.
Keywords : Judicial Decisions; Pharmaceutical Care; Drugs; Right to Health.