IACHR Grants Precautionary Measures in Favor of Patricio Fabián Vaca Castro and Others with Leukemia in Ecuador

July 13, 2022

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Washington, D.C. — On July 11, 2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 33/22, through which it granted precautionary protection measures in favor of Patricio Fabián Vaca Castro and three other persons diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (blood cancer) whom it deems to be at serious, urgent risk of suffering irreparable harm to their human rights.

The petition alleges that the beneficiaries and patients at the Carlos Andrade Marin Hospital, which belongs to the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute, do not have access to the medication they need for their medical treatment.

According to the petitioning party, the physicians overseeing the treatment have prescribed the drug nilotinib; however, the beneficiaries have not received this medication since late 2020 or early 2021, which has had serious impacts on their health. Specifically, it was alleged that the beneficiaries run the risk of coming out of remission, which implies that their disease would be returning in a more aggressive form, posing greater risks to their health and lives. This has happened despite the fact that several rulings have been handed down, one of which, from the Constitutional Court of Ecuador in August 2020, ordered the drug in question to be delivered to the beneficiaries promptly.

According to information provided by the State, the beneficiaries received their last doses of the drug between December 2020 and August 2021, and are allegedly receiving regular care from doctors at the Carlos Andrade Marín Hospital. The State also informed the IACHR that it is carrying out internal procedures to acquire nilotinib in order to comply with the Constitutional Court of Ecuador's ruling.

After analyzing the de facto and de jure allegations put forward by the parties, the IACHR noted that four judicial rulings had been handed down since 2018 ordering the medication to be provided to the patients in a continuous and timely manner, including the ruling from the Constitutional Court. Despite this, the beneficiaries are still not receiving the medicine prescribed by the health authorities. This is having a serious impact on the beneficiaries' health.

Consequently, the IACHR deems that the information in question proves, prima facie, that the beneficiaries' rights to life and personal integrity are at grave and urgent risk of suffering irreparable damage. It thus requests that the State of Ecuador a) adopt the necessary measures to protect the rights to life, personal integrity, and health of the beneficiaries by adopting immediate measures to enable them to access timely, appropriate medical treatment. Specifically, the State must guarantee regular access to the essential medications prescribed by their physicians, as well as diagnostic tests to regularly monitor their state of health, in accordance with applicable international standards. and b) agree on any measures to be adopted in consultation with the beneficiaries and their representatives.

The fact that this precautionary measure has been granted and its adoption by the state does not entail a prejudgment on any petition that may eventually be filed before the inter-American system to allege that the rights protected by the American Convention and other applicable instruments have been violated.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 158/22

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