the carrying out of studies aimed at determining the visibility of the sciences before the international community is an essential factor for the elaboration of a scientific and publishing policy for a specific country or institution. for more than ten years cuba has carried out several studies to this respect. with the aim of determining the level of representation of cuban biomedical publications in international databases, the science citation index and medline indexes were studied. based on search strategies made according to the requirements of each database, 1 054 works written by cuban authors could be identified. the 31% of the total production of the country placed in the international scene corresponds to medical sciences. however, this works are to be found in journals with little impact, mainly from spain and the united states. the more productive institutions are those located in the so-called scientific polo of the west of havana. few national health programs have an adequate support in terms of publications. despite of the fact that the number of publications increases annually, around 60% of the works by cuban authors are never quoted. there is, consequently, an inadequate visibility of cuban medical sciences in the main stream of the international science arena.