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Health care Generic drugs in Switzerland cost twice as much as in Europe

A picture of generic drugs

Generic medications were twice more expensive in Switzerland than in other European countries in 2017. 


The price of generic drugs in Switzerland in 2017 was double that in nine other European countries, says a study published on Thursday. Patented drugs were 9% more expensive.

The studyexternal link examined the manufacturing prices of 250 best-selling patent-protected and generic medications. It was conducted for the ninth time by the association of research-based pharmaceutical companies Interpharmaexternal link and the Swiss health insurance association santésuisseexternal link.

The director of santésuisse, Verena Nold, said Switzerland “could save several hundred million francs on generic drugs alone”. She called for a “new pricing system” more closely adjusted to the drug prices abroad.

Santésuisse suggested a series of measures to bring prices down, including a reference price system, faster approval of generic drugs and removing market entry barriers to promote competition within the industry.

+ Find out about the Swiss campaign to make life-saving drugs affordable

The price difference of patented drugs decreased slightly in 2017, down from 14% the previous year. The reasons for the drop were exchange rate fluctuations as well as last year’s price review, which reduced the price of over 400 drugs in Switzerland.

Original drugs whose patent had expired were 17% more expensive than in the other European countries, compared with a 20% mark-up in 2016, according to the survey.

The comparison countries were Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Finland, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden.


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