Case AI 780709/RS

AI 780709/RS, Supremo Tribunal Federal [Federal Supreme Court] (2010).
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The Court of Justice held the State of Rio Grande do Sul responsible for providing medicines free of charge to an individual living with HIV who was unable to afford them. The court based its decision on the rights to life and health. Considering these medications necessary for the survival of the individual, the court blocked the state from accessing public funds.

The state argued that protection of public health was a federal responsibility and thus it was unconstitutional to require the state to provide medications free of charge to those who cannot afford them. Further, the state argued that the court’s blocking of public funds to the state was illegitimate. The state brought an interlocutory appeal against a judgment of the Court of Justice of Rio Grande do Sul.

The Court dismissed the interlocutory appeal, finding that both the national and state governments were responsible for providing the medications to the individuals. The Court highlighted the fundamental nature of the right to life and health and emphasized that the right to health and right to life are inseparable rights. The Court explained that the judicial recognition of the government's obligation to provide medications to those in need, including those living with HIV/AIDS, make the fundamental principles of the Constitution more efficient, namely Articles 5 and 196 of the Constitution, which enshrine and protect the right to health. Moreover, according to the Court, such recognition demonstrates solidarity and respect for the life, health, humanity, and dignity of the underserved.

"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, inclusive àqueles portadores do vírus HIV, o acesso universal e igualitário à assistência farmacêutica e médico-hospitalar."

"O reconhecimento judicial da validade jurídica de programas de distribuição gratuita de medicamentos a pessoas carentes, inclusive àquelas portadoras do vírus HIV/AIDS, dá efetividade a preceitos fundamentais da Constituição da República (arts. 5º, ‘caput’, e 196) e representa, na concreção do seu alcance, um gesto reverente e solidário de apreço à vida e à saúde das pessoas, especialmente daquelas que nada têm e nada possuem, a não ser a consciência de sua própria humanidade e de sua essencial dignidade."

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