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  • Under what conditions is it ethical to conduct investigations with children?

  • Is it acceptable to conduct studies with placebo when there is already an effective treatment for the condition being studied?

  • Is it ethical to require that persons with infectious diseases remain in a hospital against their will?

  • When resources for a specific treatment are limited, who should receive treatment or who could be denied treatment?

  • Is genetic enhancement acceptable?

  • Under what conditions is it morally correct to artificially extend the life of persons?

  • Is it acceptable to compensate financially those persons who donate vital organs?

  • Are all methods of assisted reproduction ethically acceptable?


Bioethics is the discipline that seeks to clarify these and many other ethical problems that arise in health: when conducting research with human subjects, when formulating and implementing public health policies and when providing health care. Bioethics is not a code of precepts but a discipline consisting of analytic activity based on ethical principles and criteria that guide practice in the different areas related to health.

PAHO’s Regional Program on Bioethics is headquartered in Washington DC and housed under the Human Resources for Health, Bioethics, and Research Unit. The Program was established in 1994 and was based in Chile until 2010.

Our work

Our mission is to collaborate with Member States in the development of bioethics. For this, we strengthen capacities in bioethics in the Region, and provide support to Member States and to PAHO to incorporate bioethics in their policies and activities. Our work covers all three areas of bioethics: research ethics, clinical ethics and public health ethics.

The Regional Program on Bioethics also houses PAHO’s Ethics Review Committee (PAHOERC). PAHOERC ensures that research with human subjects in which PAHO is involved is ethical. Visit PAHOERC’s website to learn more.


Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2015 15:30

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