Salud y Fármacos is an international non-profit organization that promotes access and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals among the Spanish-speaking population.

Research and Publications

Salud y Fármacos has conducted and published research on doctor-patient communication, strategies for improving the appropriate use of medications in the community, patient compliance with treatment regimens, changes in the pharmaceutical industry, evaluation of programs to improve medication access, and pharmaceutical policies of international agencies.  The codes of conduct and ethics of the pharmaceutical industry and professional associations of doctors and pharmacists were collected in 2006, and an analysis of these documents was presented that same year at international conferences in Brazil and Argentina.

Recent projects

Salud y Fármacos has promoted research on the regulation and operations of pharmacies in Latin America, and in 2008 contacted researchers in the region to prepare chapters for a book which was completed in 2009 and published in 2011 by Lugar Editorial (Buenos Aires) with the title La farmacia, los farmacéuticos y el uso adecuado de medicamentos en América Latina (Pharmacy, pharmacists and the appropriate use of pharmaceuticals in Latin America).

In addition, Salud y Fármacos has also coordinated the publication of a volume entitled Ensayos Clínicos y Ética en América Latina (Clinical Trials and Ethics in Latin America), through Lugar (Argentina), 2013. An updated and revised version of this volume was published in 2014 by Springer (The Netherlands) under the title Clinical Trials in Latin America, where Ethics and Business Clash)

In 2010, Salud y Farmacos participated in a multicenter study on clinical trials conducted by CROs in Latin America, more specifically in Argentina, Brazil and Peru. The project was funded by the WEMOS Foundation and SOMO (both Dutch organizations) and Salud y Fármacos. The results of this study, including information gathered in India by the Centre for Studies in Ethics and Rights of Bombay was published in the Netherlands under the title Putting Contract Research Organizations on the Radar (Somo 2011), which can be downloaded at

In August 2011 we were asked to write a lead article for a debate on Clinical Trials by Salud Colectiva. The debate can be accessed in Spanish at

In 2013, while reviewing the literature, Salud y Fármacos discovered that The Lancet had published erroneous information on the results of legal suit against GSK for the inappropriate management of a clinical trial in Argentina. Salud y Fármacos decided to write an article correcting the information entitled The contribution of high-impact clinical journals to science: the case of The Lancet, that was published by Salud Colectiva in August 2013 and can be found in

In 2014, Salud Colectiva asked us to coordinate an issue of their journal devoted to pharmaceuticals that was published at the beginning of 2015.

During the same year, the Agency responsible for the regulation of clinical trials in Perú, OGITT, requested training in qualitative research methods. Specifically they wanted to incorporate in-depth interviews with clinical trial participants as part of the ordinary site inspections.

Currently, we are involved in a major study on the performance of research ethics committees in Latin America. The aim is to identify their strengths and weaknesses in the evaluation of clinical trials sponsored by industry, and subsequently suggest a menu of strategies to improve their performance.

Recent projects in Costa Rica

The most important activity SyF CR during 2012 revolved around bill 17,777 that seeks to regulate biomedical research in the country.

As a result of a letter written by a member of Salud y Farmacos Costa Rica requesting that new clinical trial in the country would not be allowed to take place in the country untill a new law would be approved regulating the trials, the Sala Constitucional (Constitutional Chamber) of Costa Rica suspended clinical research on humans in 2010. Up to that point, clinical trials had been regulated by executive decree. The Constitutional Chamber argued that, because clinical trials affected the health and lives of the participants, all new trials would be suspended until the Costa Rican legislature would approve a law to regulate this activity. Two bills have been presented to Congress. One bill (17,777), supported by the Minister of Health, local CROs and the pharmaceutical industry, has been approved by the National Assembly.This bill does not guarantee respect for the human rights of clinical trial subjects and the approval process used by the National Assembly has been questioned. Presently, is under revision by the Constituional Court before the bill can be sent to the President for its signature before it becomes law.

The Salud y Fármacos has publicly questioned the portions of the text that threaten the respect of the human rights of the participants, has proposed changes and improvements and has publicly denounced the irregular process that has been followed in Congress. To that effect SyF Costa Rica did the following:

  • Made several public pronouncements through different mass media.
  • Participated in panel discussions, forums and radio programs.
  • Wrote letters to Members of the National Assembly and health authorities informing or denouncing specific aspects of the bill that conflicted with human rights principles and the political Constitution of Costa Rica.
  • Lobbied members of the Assembly and other authorities.
  • Presented motions and proposals to specific items of the bill, which were distributed to several assemblymen to be incorporated in the bill. Some of them were accepted.
  • Obtained, from the Assembly, a copy of the entire history of the bill. In these documents the three-years process has been documented, as well as the arguments and amendments submitted by the representatives of different institutions and the pharmaceutical industry to defend their explicit and implicit interests.
  • Some of the points that the Association considers most controversial in bill 17,777 are: a) the establishment and functions of a National Bioethics Council to ensure the political, commercial and institutional independence of each and every one of its members in the approval and supervision of clinical experiments, especially Phase I and Phase II studies, b ) the use of placebo in trials where there is already an approved drug or therapy, c ) respect for the Constitution of Costa Rica in terms of experimenting with persons with disability, fee payments and a valid insurance policy for the participants.

Salud y Farmacos continues to monitor the process by which new vaccines are introduced in the national immunization schedule

The previous (2006-2010) and the present governments have made changes to the immunization schedule in the country, in accordance with an international plan that is geared to “homogenize” the national immunization schedules. There is Mesoamerican Vaccination Plan, sponsored by COFVAL (Commission for the Future of Vaccines in Latin America) Members of the Association of Salud y Fármacos have repeatedly denounced and documented legal and technical irregularities in the introduction of universal vaccines in the immunization schedule of Costa Rica. They have also formally presented these complaints to official control bodies and have disseminated this information through different means. Some of the vaccine policies are being formally investigated.

Salud y Farmacosn has extensive documentation of the process and the mechanisms followed to try to justify the introduction of these vaccines in our country, the participation of national and international institutions and conflict of interest of major players in making decisions.

This Association ceased to operate in 2015, mainly due to personal reasons.

Recent Spanish projects

SyF Spain is assuming an important role in the publication of Boletín Fármacos. In 2013 decided to transfer all issues published to the new version of wordpress and to this end hired People’s Walking (Barcelona), which will be responsible for maintaining the webpage and uploading all the issues of Boletin Farmacos. It is expected that by 2014, the new webpage will be operational.

It has signed a contract with the University of Texas, Health Science Center at Houston to have a faculty member working with Salud y Farmacos in several of the Foundation’s projects in Latin America.

SyF Spain was responsible for the production of Boletin Farmacos between 2013 and 2015.

Maintaining a Foundation is Spain became too onerous and it was closed in 2016. All projects were transferred to Salud y Farmacos-USA

modificado el 20 de mayo de 2016