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Rev Med Inst Mex Seguro Soc. 2015 Jul-Aug;53(4):490-503.

[Ethics committees in the experience of the IMSS: a Latin American instance].

[Article in Spanish; Abstract available in Spanish from the publisher]

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Coordinación de Investigación, Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Distrito Federal, México.


in English, Spanish


The aim of this article is to identify the current state of hospital bioethics committees and local research ethics committees of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS).


A descriptive cross-sectional study was performed that included all hospitals of the IMSS (N = 262). Two self-administered questionnaires were e-mailed between october and november 2014 to the hospital directors: one for hospital bioethics committees and another for local research ethics committees. Both questionnaires had five sections: committee location, date of committee set up, activity situation, composition, functions, and experience.


The response rate was 85 %. It was reported 150 active hospital bioethics committees and 67 active local research ethics committees. In both groups physicians and executive directors dominated committees' membership, and lay people were reported only in seven hospital bioethics committees. The primary function of hospital bioethics committees was case consultation, and their primary goal "to improve the quality of medical care". Local Research Ethics Committees reported as primary function "to evaluate health research protocols and rule of them", and as their primary goal "to protect the rights and wellbeing of the research subjects".


Both groups of committees ought to be assessed regularly through audit cycles in order to identify the educative actions that enhance their efficiency.


Bioethics; Ethics committees; Health services; Mexico

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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