Government accused of ramping up the price of medicine in Switzerland

Government accused of ramping up the price of medicine in Switzerland

Since the start of the Ukraine crisis, medicine in Switzerland has only become more unaffordable. Now, figures in the Swiss media have suggested that the Swiss government is to partly to blame for the huge price rises, with many in parliament now calling for action. 

Switzerland’s 2019 Medicines Act reform

According to Watson, one of the reasons for such expensive medicine is partially down to the reforms made to Switzerland’s Medicines Act in 2019. The reforms allowed drugstores to sell medicines that were previously restricted to pharmacies, but also meant the classification of certain drugs changed. 

From prescription drugs to over-the-counter cough drops, many have been left wondering if the Swiss healthcare system is working in a price-effective way, after drugs that were previously designated as “Category C” are now classed as “Category B”, meaning that they can only be obtained by prescription. This has ramped up costs through medical referrals and new price guidelines for health insurance providers.

More people in Switzerland are getting prescriptions

Before the reforms, many drugs in Switzerland were available for cheaper than their current market price. There are also many more people requesting prescriptions for medicine, meaning more are having to visit a doctor on a regular basis. 

According to Watson, these extra appointments lead to increased costs totalling around 2,6 million Swiss francs. There is renewed concern that with the cost of basic and supplemental health insurance expected to rise significantly in the coming years, more needs to be done now to reduce the cost of medicine.

Now, the National Council has said it wants to act to reduce costs. The Federal Council has also admitted that the price of certain medicines has risen as a result of the law change in 2019 and called for prices to be slashed.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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