Prices in Switzerland are higher than in other countries. Healthcare is no exception. Medication generates a large proportion of these costs, as the latest Helsana Drug Report shows. The key facts.
Medication accounts for around a quarter of all healthcare costs that are covered by basic insurance in Switzerland. The current framework has two particular shortcomings, however: there is a need for a more systematic evaluation of prescription drugs, and greater transparency is required about the opaque official drug pricing process. Neither health insurers nor consumer protection organisations are able to appeal against official decisions. That right is the preserve of the pharmaceutical industry alone.
Official pricing should be limited to those medications for which there are no alternative treatments, which means that they are not subject to the forces of competition. A system of fixed rates should be introduced for those drugs whose patents have expired. The manufacturers of comparable and substitutable drugs should open themselves up to competition. The territoriality principle should also be relaxed. This would mean that anyone taking it upon themselves to obtain medication prescribed by their doctor at lower cost in a neighbouring country should have it reimbursed by their basic insurance, just as if they had bought it in Switzerland.