A 25-year-old logistics assistant, resident of Praia Grande, on the coast of São Paulo, who prefers not to be identified, managed to obtain an urgent temporary injunction in court ordering the Unified Health System (SUS) to provide a high-cost drug for the treatment of severe atopic dermatitis. With two single-use syringes, the drug sells for more than R$12,000.
Approved by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) in 2020, the drug is used to treat atopic dermatitis, asthma and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyp. In the decision, of March 4, Judge Eduardo Ruivo Nicolau considered that, if the patient does not use the drug urgently, as recommended by a doctor, there is a possibility of aggravation of the disease.
Nicolau defined that the patient should receive 300 mg doses of Dupixent (Dupilumab) from the SUS within 30 days, until the final judgment or a new court order to the contrary. “The treatment can be extended, and the amount varies with each prescription presented quarterly, according to the patient’s condition”, quotes the judge.
According to the dermatologist who works with the logistics assistant, she has had a chronic inflammatory process on her skin for more than 18 years, with symptoms such as intense itching, skin infections and lesions all over the body – blisters, scaling and sores. The situation also compromises the young woman’s quality of life, leading to depression and anxiety.
To try to control the disease, several treatments have already been carried out, but they have not had any effect, so the dermatologist prescribed the application of two syringes of Dupixent, at once, and one syringe every 15 days, continuously.
Justice ordered SUS to provide medication worth R$ 12,000 for young people to treat dermatitis in Praia Grande, SP – Photo: Personal Archive
To the g1, lawyer Fabricio Posocco said he believes the judge’s decision brought justice to the case. “We went to court asking for this high-cost medicine so that she could have this treatment, and minimize the effects caused by the disease. The judge determined that, every time the doctor requests it, the government needs to deliver”, he explains.
“The legislation provides that the State must effectively grant health care to those who need it, using the SUS, then, nothing is fairer than the State providing the medication to that person who needs it so much, to return to a normal life”, says the lawyer.
Posocco explains that, from the moment the doctor specifies the medication that the person needs, if the public power does not have it to provide, either because it is not on the list or because it does not buy it, the person has the right to go to court. “These high-cost drugs are unique, that is, the most modern drug available for that situation. Everything has been tried, and nothing has been achieved.”
According to the defender, the argument used in the process was that the dermatologist herself was reporting that she had already tried different types of treatment and other medications with the patient, but that they did not work, and that there was no other option left to try to solve this situation. .
Dermatologist Ricardo Pereira de Almeida explained to the g1 that atopic dermatitis is a type of allergy, called eczema, that occurs mainly in childhood, but which, in some cases, can start in adulthood. “It’s a genetic, chronic disease, and the main symptoms are itching and dry skin. It’s not a contagious disease.”
There are some factors that can aggravate or trigger dermatitis, including excessive sweating, friction of the skin with clothes, hot bath, use of inappropriate loofahs and soaps and stress. According to the specialist, the disease mainly affects the areas of the body with folds, for example, the arms, behind the knees and, sometimes, in the neck. “And it can be accompanied by other allergic symptoms, such as asthma, rhinitis or conjunctivitis.”
According to Almeida, the treatment consists of controlling the itching and inflammation, using appropriate moisturizers, antihistamines and corticosteroids, depending on medical advice.
The specialist explains that Dupixent is a high-cost medication that works on inflammatory cells, but that, in Brazil, is not offered by the SUS. “It is a medication indicated when other treatment options have not been effective.”
In a note, the State Department of Health informs that the drug Dupilamab 300 mg is already in the process of being acquired so that it can be delivered to the patient, who will be guided to remove the input.