C., C., et al. v. Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social de la Provincia de Buenos Aires

C., C. y otros c/ Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, C. Civ. y Com., Bahia Blanca, Sala II, LLBA1997, 1122, 2/9/1997 (Arg.).
Download Judgment: English Spanish
Country: Argentina
Region: Americas
Year: 1997
Court: Civil and Commercial Court of Appeals of Bahía Blanca [Cámara de Apelaciones en lo Civil y Comercial de Bahía Blanca, Sala II]
Health Topics: Health care and health services, Health systems and financing, HIV/AIDS, Medicines
Human Rights: Right to bodily integrity, Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Access to drugs, Access to health care, Access to medicines, Access to treatment, AIDS, Antiretrovirals, ARVs, Health expenditures, Health funding, Health spending, HIV, People living with HIV/AIDS, PLHIV

Persons living with HIV/AIDS had filed a guarantee of protection of individual constitutional rights (amparo protection) with the the lower court against the Ministry of Health, claiming that their HIV/AIDS medical treatment was willingly suspended, violating their right to health and jeopardizing their right to life. After the filing of the action, the treatment was reestablished by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health of Buenos Aires filed an appeal asking the Court to rule the case moot, as the violations claimed by the affected parties, HIV/AIDS patients, were no longer present.

Petitioners also argued that the Province of Buenos Aires had no obligation to maintain the treatment and that a suspension of treatment did not amount to violations of the rights claimed by the affected parties.

The Court held that the case was still relevant to guide and guarantee the ongoing administration of the patients' treatment. The Court indicated that the petitioner failed to understand that successful treatment of HIV/ AIDS depended on its consistency as instructed by physicians. Therefore, any suspension of treatment may endanger the whole treatment and, ultimately, their patients' lives.

The Court added that the judicial protection of the patients' rights could not be fulfilled simply by the continuation of the treatment administered by the Health Ministry of the Buenos Aires Province. If treatment were suspended again, the affected parties would be required to file a new writ of amparo, as their rights to health, physical, mental, and moral integrity, and dignity would be violated.

The Court held that the right to health and physical, mental, and moral integrity could only be guaranteed by the fulfillment of the State's obligation to provide medical assistance for HIV/AIDS treatment.

“Ante la discontinuidad de provisión de fármacosdestinados a los pacientes con H.I.V. por parte del Ministerio de Salud y Acción Social de la Provincia de Buenos Aires la tutelasolicitadapormedio del amparointerpuesto, a los efectos de normalizar la continuidad de dichaprovisión, no puedeagotarse con la sola entrega de unapartida de medicamentosporque no puedealegarseque en caso de reiterarse la omisiónvuelvan a plantearunaacción de amparo, pues con ello no sólo se violarían los derechos a la salud e integridadfísica, psíquica y moral de estas personas sinotambiénsudignidad, colocándolos en un riesgocierto de perder la vida o agravarsuspadecimientos.” Page 1.

“In light of the lack of continuity of treatment in respect of the provision of medications for patients with HIV by the Ministry of Health and Social Action of the Province of Buenos Aires, the remedy sought through the protection action that has been filed to ensure the continuity of provision of medications, cannot be remedied by the delivery to the patients of a prescription for certain drugs on a single occasion, because it cannot be argued that if this omission occurs again, another protection action should be filed. This would violate not only the rights to health and to physical, mental and moral integrity of the persons in question, but also their respective rights to lead a life of dignity, and would put them at risk of losing their lives or of aggravating their respective conditions. “ Page 1

 

“…no se ha tornado abstracta la resoluciónsinoquepor el contrario con ella se ha concretado la forma en quedebenproveerselasdrogasnecesariaspara los mencionadospacientes, estoes con la continuidadqueprevé el tratamiento al que son sometidos en los nosocomios locales.” Page 4.

“…the lower court’s decision is not abstract, but, to the contrary, it concretely specified the manner in which the necessary drugs should be provided to the patients in question—that is, it provides for continuity of the treatment that such patients are receiving at their respective local health centers.” Page 4

View full summary and print   |   Download summary as PDF