Editor's note: This film is no longer available online.

Drugs are at the heart of modern medicine, yet affording them is a challenge for governments across the world. 

I know that denying someone medical treatments could lead to their death, but on the other hand I also know that the cost of providing that treatment will have a negative impact on the rest of society.

Maria, judge

The Brazilian constitution has given its people a powerful legal right to medical drugs, allowing even the very poorest to fight through the courts to get the medication they need.

The government aims to fulfil its promises through a long list of essential medicines provided by the state.

In the 1990s, the government's commitment was tested with the onset of HIV/AIDs, which required expensive antiretroviral medication. It led to a rare alliance between the state, civil society and the politicians and left an important legacy, not just for Brazil but for the world.

Yet, the challenge of providing medication to all is ongoing and complicated. Studies have shown that on average 40 percent of drugs prescribed are not available.

This film shows Brazil's continuing efforts, looking back at landmark gains as well as following the unfolding journeys of two of its citizens as they battle to access the drugs they need, through the health system and the courts.


Source: Al Jazeera