Case of European Court of Human Rights, November 26, 2019 (case Abdyusheva and Others v. Russia)

Resolution Date:November 26, 2019

Partiellement irrecevable (Art. 35) Conditions de recevabilité;(Art. 35-3-a) Manifestement mal fondé;Non-violation de l'article 8 - Droit au respect de la vie privée et familiale (Article 8-1 - Respect de la vie privée);Non-violation de l'article 34 - Requêtes individuelles (Article 34 - Entraver l'exercice du droit de recours)


Information Note on the Court’s case-law 234

November 2019

Abdyusheva and Others v. Russia - 62964/10, 58502/11 and 55683/13

Judgment 26.11.2019 [Section III]

Article 8

Article 8-1

Respect for private life

Impossibility for opiate addicts to obtain methadone or buprenorphine substitution therapy: no violation

Facts – The applicants, opioid addicts, complained about the lack of access to replacement therapy with methadone or buprenorphine. Russian legislation prohibits the use of these two substances in the treatment of drug addiction.

Law – Article 8 (private life):

  1. Ms Abdyusheva – Taking into account, firstly, the risks of replacement therapy for public health and, secondly, the individual situation of the applicant, who was in receipt of medical assistance, the Court reached the conclusion that the authorities had not overstepped their margin of appreciation. In this connection, it was of little importance whether the case was examined in terms of an interference or in terms of the State’s positive obligations (see also, with regard to a request for access to unauthorised medication: Hristozov and Others v. Bulgaria, 47039/11 and 358/12, 13 November 2012, Information note 157).

    (A) On the necessity of replacement treatment for the applicant – The Court was faced in this case with diverging medical opinions, and it was not its role to arbitrate between them:

    – on the one hand, Ukrainian experts had given a positive response to the query whether her case met the criteria for putting in place replacement therapy, as previously begun by the applicant;

    – on the other hand, Russian experts had considered that replacement therapy was not indicated, given that the patient had not exhausted the conventional treatment options that were available in Russia, in particular the rehabilitation and social reintegration phases.

    It remained the case, however, that the country’s medical institutions had solid expertise in this area and provided treatment for opioid addicts. The applicant could have recourse to this if necessary. Her case was to be examined by specialists, who alone were competent to prescribe appropriate treatment.

    Moreover, the applicant had not exhausted all of the conventional treatment methods; those methods were still available to her (in contrast to the case of Hristozov and Others, where conventional anti-cancer treatments had already been attempted).

    (B) On the wish to be allowed to bypass the steps recommended by conventional...

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