OBJECTIVE: To characterize the main medical, scientific and health-related procedural elements upon which decisions are made in individual lawsuits demanding medicines that are considered essential to the Court of Justice. METHODS: Retrospective descriptive study based on 27 cases ruled on by the Court of Appeals in Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Brazil, in 2006. The original proceedings were solicited from the Central Archive of the Court of Justice of the State of Rio de Janeiro and were photographed and analyzed in full. RESULTS: Prescriptions and medical certificates were present in 100% of the lawsuits. All prescriptions lacked conformity to legislation. No expert medical reports were added, and only 7.4% of the lawsuits presented complementary examinations. In spite of the scarcity of medical information present in the records, all of the demands were granted. CONCLUSIONS: The admission of judicial demands devoid of clinical and diagnostic substantiation results in managerial and health-related constraints on the health system. Besides creating havoc in standard pharmaceutical services, badly justified medicine demands may compromise rational drug use.
Pharmaceutical Services, legislation & jurisprudence; Drug Prescriptions; Judicial Decisions; Legislation, Health