Drug Report

As well as a general section, the Drug Report 2021 offers an analysis of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on purchases and addresses the issue of supply shortages. With its report, Helsana is ensuring greater transparency in the healthcare sector, and thus helping to improve the care that our customers receive.

The latest Helsana Drug Report shows that the medication costs borne by basic insurance amounted to CHF 7.7 billion in 2020. Although slightly fewer medications were purchased compared with 2019, the total costs continued to rise. The immunosuppressant group generated the highest medication costs. In second place were cancer drugs with a cost increase of +10.5% compared with the previous year. The eighth edition of the Helsana Drug Report additionally focuses on analysis of medication during the coronavirus pandemic as well as supply shortages of medication.

The key findings are as follows:

  • 2020 was strongly affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The traditional medicine cabinet in particular was armed with medication for pain, coughs and colds, and eye drops and Vitamin D3 preparations.
  • Due to high levels of psychological stress and uncertainty, increasing quantities of psychoanaleptics and sleep remedies were purchased during lockdown.
  • Even during lockdown, cancer patients started on lifesaving therapies such as cytostatic and immunotherapies, with only brief delays.
  • In Switzerland, the number of medication supply shortages has been steadily increasing for some years now. The cause of the problem is a worldwide decline in manufacturers and the resulting concentration of a few productions sites. As a small market, Switzerland is often one of the first to suffer from supply shortages.
  • Fortunately, the supply shortages were largely non-critical, with other pack sizes and dosage strengths still available to compensate.
  • However, almost a third proved to be highly critical, as only one preparation is available on the Swiss market at a time. Supply shortages lead to considerable bottlenecks and problems that must be prevented.
Helsana Drug Report 2021

Greater transparency in the supply of medicinal products

The Helsana Drug Report is unique in Switzerland. It gives a realistic insight into the supply of medication in Switzerland. Helsana compiles the report in cooperation with the University Hospital of Basel (USB) and the European Center of Pharmaceutical Medicine (ECPM) at the University of Basel.

The report is in German. The preface and summary are available in English, German and French.

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