Cadernos de Saúde Pública
Print version ISSN 0102-311X
PEPE, Vera Lúcia Edais et al. Characterization of lawsuits for the supply of "essential" medicines in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.26, n.3, pp. 461-471. ISSN 0102-311X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2010000300004.
Recognition of the right to health raises two practical issues: the government's ethical and legal duty to ensure comprehensive health care and citizens' recourse to legal action to guarantee this right. This study focused on lawsuits to demand "essential" medicines, filed at the State Court of Appeals in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2006. One hundred and eighty-five suits were examined, and the claims were granted in all but three cases. Median times between filing the suit, the injunction, first ruling, and appellate ruling were 7, 239, and 478 days respectively. In 80.6% of the 98 suits in which the specific medicines could be identified, at least one drug did not belong to any publicly funded list of medicines. This could indicate that lawsuits demanding "essential" drugs were motivated not only by problems in procurement, distribution, and dispensing of medicines but also by non-inclusion of medicines on official lists. Most of the medicines demanded through lawsuits were for conditions involving the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Keywords : Essential Drugs; Right to Health; Judicial Decisions; National Drug Policy; Single Health System.