Cruz del Valle Bermúdez y otros vs. MSAS s/amparo. Expediente N° 15.789. Sentencia N° 196. [ENG]
Amparo action to obtain supply of the drugs needed to treat persons living with HIV/AIDS. Court order urging Health and Assistance Ministry to deliver the drugs on a regular and reliable basis. Order to correct budgetary allocation and to develop preventive policies including information, awareness, education and full assistance programs.
A group of citizens living with HIV/AIDS filed an amparo action against the Health and Assistance Ministry (HAM) due to its refusal to deliver drugs needed to treat the virus as prescribed (triple therapy). Applicants had no social security and lacked financial means to buy the prescribed drugs. In their brief, the applicants denounced the violation of their rights to life, health, personal freedom and security, non discrimination and the benefits of science and technology enshrined in the Constitution of Venezuela and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, among other international instruments. The Constitutional Court granted the amparo action and ordered HAM to supply to the applicants the drugs making up the triple therapy on a regular and reliable basis, as well as any drugs needed to treat opportunistic diseases derived from their HIV-positive condition and all required medical tests. The Court also ordered that a preventive policy be developed, including information, awareness and education programs, as well as full assistance to persons living with HIV/AIDS, and full treatment and medical assistance to the applicants. Furthermore, the Court ordered that the President of Venezuela be asked to correct the budgetary allocation known as “Task: AIDS Prevention and Control” or to provide an additional disbursement for the rest of the fiscal year, and to ensure future budget bills include enough resources for this purpose.
Keywords: Cruz del Valle Bermúdez y otros vs. MSAS s/amparo. Expediente N° 15.789. Sentencia N° 196, Right, Life
Although it had been requested that the decision be made extensive to all those affected and not just the applicants, the Court did not uphold this request. Consequently, the action was repeatedly filed on many occasions until the social security system changed the policy. In 2001, in another case filed by PROVEA and ACCSI against Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (IVSS, Venezuela's Social Security Authority), the Supreme Court's Constitutional Division acknowledged common interests by accepting a group of HIV-positive persons -who had filed an amparo seeking drugs- as representatives of all people suffering the virus (see in this database López Glenda y otros c. Instituto Venezolano de los Seguros Sociales (IVSS) s/ acción de amparo).
Applicants: Cruz del Valle Bermúdez y otros, sponsored by Acción Ciudadana Contra el Sida (ACCSI) (http://www.internet.ve/accsi/).
Although the decision did not extend its effects to all those affected (but only to the applicants), this case shows the potential of filing multiple individual actions to achieve a modification in a given health policy of general scope.