Special Report #2

Volume 23, Number 10: October 2022

How Argentina’s Palliative Care Law Came to Fruition

By Sophia Bunge, MD, and Nicolas Dawidowicz, MD
IAHPC Advocacy Focal Points for Argentina


In Argentina, where it is estimated that less than 12 percent of those who require palliative care receive it, advocates planned a national palliative care bill as a strategy to improve access. Although not every country needs a law to ensure equitable access to palliative care, countries with fragile health systems with structural deficits, like Argentina, surely do.

Few national health policies prioritize palliative care, despite the World Health Organization’s recommendations and the fact that access to appropriate care services enhances human rights and responds better to community needs.

Argentinian legislators have tabled two initiatives to advance palliative care in the past 10 years. Some states passed laws, but few were put into practice.


In September 2019, a team led by Senator Mario R. Fiad started working on the issue of access together with the Palliative Care National Program-National Cancer Institute and the Argentine Association of Medicine and Palliative Care (AAMyCP).

A bill was developed, and sent to provincial palliative care representatives and leaders as well as scientific associations for input. Consensus was built, incorporating into the bill changes based on suggestions received. At the same time, another draft law was presented to Congress by Senator García Larraburu.

The two bills were combined and then sent for comments to the technical team at the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) via its representative in Argentina. PAHO returned the text with some suggestions, and Fiad's team met directly with the PAHO staff. The final text of the bill was prepared.

The Senate unanimously approved the bill on October 2020. Nearly two years later, with little time remaining before Parliament recessed, the Chamber of Deputies of the National Congress passed the bill into law on July 21, 2022. The vote was a triumph: The palliative care bill, now Law 27678, garnered 219 votes in favor and only 1 against.

This result was the fruit of advocacy with health professionals, the Palliative Care National Program-National Cancer Institute, nongovernmental organizations, the AAMyCP, the media, and the community. It was also necessary to identify key policy makers and politicians to ensure that the legislation was reviewed by the health and budget commissions.

Regulations are now being written for the palliative care law.

Its success is a clear example of perseverance, broad advocacy, and a clear conviction of the need to have a national law guiding access to palliative care, with the corollary aim of promoting palliative care in Argentina.

Dr. Sofia Bunge and Dr. Nicolas Dawidowicz are with Programa Argentino Fundacion FEMEBA and Fundación ICALMA.

Main advocates & advisors who contributed to Argentina’s palliative care law

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