Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Law

Research Student: Liliana Soto Gomez

Biobanking: An ethical/legal proposal for Mexico

Biobanking, a new technology playing an essential role in the cure of severe pathologies and the achievement of new preventive diagnose methods, carries out numerous ethical concerns involving a wide range of benefits. The interest about biobanks and diversity of population is emerging in Latin-America; many samples are being taken with diverse purposes. Ethical and legal norms are needed to provide with guidance to scientists, governments and other actors involved in the development and application of biobanking in countries like Mexico, the 4th country in private banks worldwide.

I investigate the best options for guidance to be implemented in the Mexican reality, after exploring the most relevant theoretical frameworks applicable to the main biobanking dilemmas in practice, which will be explored. The apparent absence of clear legal rules seems to provoke chaos, confusion and probably, wrong conceptions. Issues like informed consent, privacy and benefit sharing need to be analyzed since ethical views, which need to be clearly identified within institutional and legal contexts. Should new institutions be created? Would pertinent changes be better?

As public participation in Latin-America is a relevant element in the evolution of biobanking processes from research to the encouragement of effective policies, an approach to social realities and international guidelines will be necessary since a potential explanatory reason could be the fact that biobanking has been far from real public engagement.

It is essential to balance facts as the avoidance of research hampering by beaurocracy, research freedom and legal protection for rights like privacy.

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