The Tel Aviv Labor Court this week ordered Clalit Health Services to at least temporarily supply a 74- year-old man whose condition is declining with a medication that could help him, even before an appeals committee reviews his case.

The suit was filed by lawyer Osnat Robovitz- Barkash in the labor court – the judiciary body that has the authority to deal with cases relating to the basket of health services – by the Dolev Foundation for Medical Justice.

Judge Shmuel Tannenbaum strongly criticized the country’s largest health fund for “footdragging for more than four months” and rejecting his request to appoint an appeals committee.

The patient has a rare neuropathic disease that affects his whole body. Previously, Clalit approved a drug for him that was not registered for this kind of disorder, but it failed. His specialist prescribed another drug also not listed for this specific condition.

The patient, who said the second drug was cheaper than the first, has a low pension income and cannot afford to purchase the drug by himself.

The Dolev Foundation lawyer said the court ruling was a “significant achievement for the public because, for the first time, the labor court recognized the urgency of saving a life” and forced the health fund to approve the treatment immediately, even before the health fund appeal committee bureaucrats discussed the case.

“There is no doubt that his condition requires the health insurer to act quickly,” the lawyer said, adding that it sets a precedent for other desperate patients and will prevent future delays in treatment.

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