Doctors, lawyers and pharmaceutical industry on health lawsuits in Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil

Orozimbo Henriques Campos Neto Francisco de Assis Acurcio Marina Amaral de Ávila Machado Felipe Ferré Fernanda Loureiro Vasconcelos Barbosa Mariângela Leal Cherchiglia Eli Iola Gurgel Andrade About the authors

OBJECTIVE: To describe the relationship between the prescribing doctor, lawyer and pharmaceutical industry in lawsuits against the state. METHODS: Retrospective descriptive study based on data from administrative files, relating to lawsuits involving medicine demands, in the state of Minas Gerais, Southeastern Brazil, from October 1999 to October 2009. RESULTS: A total of 2,412 lawsuits were analyzed with 2,880 medicine requests, including 18 different drugs, 12 of them provided through Pharmaceutical Policies of the Brazilian National Health System (SUS). The most frequent medicines requested included were adalimumab, etanercept, infliximab, insulin glargine and tiotropium bromide. The main diseases were rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, diabetes mellitus, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Private lawyers and doctors were predominant. The results revealed the association between doctors and law offices on drug requests. Among the lawsuits filed by the office A, 43.6% had a single prescriber to adalimumab, while 29 doctors were responsible for 40.2% of the same drug prescriptions. A single doctor was responsible for 16.5% of the adalimumab prescriptions, being requested through lawsuits filed by a single private law office in 44.8% of legal proceedings. CONCLUSIONS: A greater representation of doctors and lawyers from the private sector can hinder equity in health. The results revealed the association between doctors and law offices on drug requests. This is an indication that justice and medical practice have been used, at certain times, to serve the interests of the pharmaceutical industry.

Health lawsuits and access to health; Equity in health; Pharmaceutical industry; Incorporation of medicines; Lawsuit officials; Doctors

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