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Revista de Saúde Pública

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MACEDO, Eloisa Israel de; LOPES, Luciane Cruz  and  BARBERATO-FILHO, Silvio. A technical analysis of medicines request-related decision making in Brazilian courts. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2011, vol.45, n.4, pp.706-713.  Epub July 01, 2011. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze judicial requests for medications that are covered by the pharmaceutical assistance components of the Sistema Único de Saúde (SUS - Brazilian Unified Health System). METHODS: We analyzed 81 judicial requests for medications in the State of São Paulo between 2005 and 2009. The details of these cases were obtained electronically from the Court of Justice of the State of São Paulo. Directives that regulate pharmaceutical assistance were consulted to identify judicially requested medications that are covered by the SUS. To assess the level of evidence supporting the use of these medications to treat the clinical indications described, we consulted the Thomson Micromedex® database. RESULTS: The number of individual medications requested in each case ranged from 1 to 7; in total, 77 different pharmaceuticals agents were identified. Of the medications requested, 14.3% should have been available through SUS primary care, 19.5% were classified under the exceptionally dispensed medications component of the SUS, and 66.2% were not on any official list. Medications of the exceptionally dispensed medications component showed better clinical evidence when indicated for the treatment of medical conditions covered by the Clinical Protocols and Therapeutic Guidelines of Brazil's Ministry of Health. CONCLUSIONS: The judicial process has been used to ensure access to medications that are covered by the SUS and to request access to those that are not covered. Our assessment of the level of available evidence reinforces the need for technical analysis in the decision-making process in cases of judicially requested medications.

Keywords : Judicial Decisions; Pharmaceutical services; Brazilian Unified Health System; National Drug Policy; Equity in Access; Right to health; Rational use of medicines.

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