Case AI 839594/RS

AI 839594/RS, Supremo Tribunal Federal [Federal Supreme Court] (2011).
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Country: Brazil
Region: Americas
Year: 2011
Court: Supremo Tribunal Federal (Federal Supreme Court)
Health Topics: Health care and health services, Medicines, Poverty
Human Rights: Right to health, Right to life
Tags: Access to drugs, Access to health care, Access to medicines, Access to treatment, Low income, Poor

Rio Grande do Sul filed an interlocutory appeal against the lower court’s decision that denied the special appeal affirming Rio Grande do Sul’s duty to care for its citizen’s health, specifically by providing surgery and certain medications at no cost to Rinaldo Pinzetta, a needy citizen. The Court also assessed a fine to Rio Grande do Sul for abusing its right of appeal.

The Court based its decision to deny the interlocutory appeal on article 23 of the Federal Constitution which imposes on the Union, the States and the Municipalities a duty to care for the health of its citizens, regardless of the disease at issue. It states that the free distribution of medicines essential to the preservation of life and/or health of those in need is a constitutional duty that the State cannot fail to provide.

Furthermore, Rio Grade do Sul was assessed a fine because it abused the right to appeal by making an express attempt to delay the natural flow of the judicial process, which is prohibited by article 557, section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

“O Estado é responsável pela saúde do cidadão, independentemente de qual seja a enfermidade que lhe acomete, tendo em vista que o art. 23 da CF prevê como competência comum da União, Estado, Distrito Federal e Município, cuidar da saúde.” Page 1

“The State is responsible for its citizen’s health, regardless of the disease he possesses, in accordance with article 23 of the Federal Constitution that imposes on the Union, the State, the Federal District and the Municipality the joint obligation to care for the public’s health.” Page 1

“O direito público subjetivo à saúde representa prerrogativa jurídica indisponível assegurada à generalidade das pessoas pela própria Constituição da República (art. 196). Traduz bem jurídico constitucionalmente tutelado, por cuja integridade deve velar, de maneira responsável, o Poder Público, a quem incumbe formular - e implementar - políticas sociais e econômicas idôneas que visem a garantir, aos cidadãos, o acesso universal e igualitário à assistência farmacêutica e médico-hospitalar. - O direito à saúde - além de qualificar-se como direito fundamental que assiste a todas as pessoas - representa conseqüência constitucional indissociável do direito à vida. O Poder Público, qualquer que seja a esfera institucional de sua atuação no plano da organização federativa brasileira, não pode mostrar-se indiferente ao problema da saúde da população, sob pena de incidir, ainda que por censurável omissão, em grave comportamento inconstitucional.” Page 2

“The subjective right to health represents the undeniable judicial prerogative guaranteed to the general public by the Constitution of the Republic (article 196). This translates as a constitutionally mandated right, and by such authority proscribes that, in a responsible manner, the Public Authority- whom is in the position and has the power to implement appropriate social and economic policies- must provide and guarantee its citizens universal and equal access to pharmaceutical assistance and medical-hospital access. In addition to qualifying as a fundamental right applicable to all people, the right to health represents an undeniable constitutional consequence of the right to life. The Public Authority, whichever institution is deemed responsible for such role in the Brazilian federal system, must not show itself indifferent to such public health problems, so as to avoid the risk of adopting, even if by censurable omission, unconstitutional behavior.” Page 2

“A multa a que se refere o art. 557, § 2o, do CPC possui função inibitória, pois visa a impedir o exercício abusivo do direito de recorrer e a obstar a indevida utilização do processo como instrumento de retardamento da solução jurisdicional do conflito de interesses.” Page 2

“The fine referred to in article 557, section 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure serves as a deterrent, as it aims to deter the abusive use of the right to appeal and to abstain from the inappropriate use of the recourse as a means to delay the outcome of the judicial process among conflicting interests.” Page 2

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