Health policy

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Bioethical responsibilities of the health authority in health care and biomedical research

Responsabilidades bioéticas de la autoridad sanitaria en atención en salud y en investigación biomédica


The reflection on bioethical contents of health policies and their effects on the demands for social justice has been a preferred concern of those who have driven the health reforms that were behind the creation of the National Health Service and, more recently, the regime of health guarantees. In the course of the years, the concern for the vindication of individual rights in the context of health care and research has joined to citizen demands for equitable access to health actions. For this purpose, in 2006 and 2012, specific laws addressing these matters were enacted and in the last year, regulations that make them operative emerged and are being implemented. The wording of the articles of both laws, in the effort to rescue individual rights, raises an imbalance in some respects, with regard to the social impact of their implementation. In certain subjects, its provisions run counter to existing codes of professional ethics in the country and in others; its implementation allows the privatization of the process of ethical review of pharmacological research, which was restricted to public health services. The absence of starting up of the National Bioethics Commission, pending since 2006, has prevented the creation of a pluralistic spaTce for deliberation on these issues and others as provided by law.