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Pharma costs Swiss ‘pay a billion francs too much in health premiums’

Packets of medicines

Pharmaceutical costs are being blamed for high health insurance premiums.


A survey has found that the Swiss pay far too much in health premiums, owing notably to the high cost of pharmaceuticals, reports a Sunday newspaper.

The survey by Santésuisseexternal link, which represents health insurance companies, says Swiss citizens pay more than CHF1 billion ($1 billion) too much in health premiums. It has arrived at this conclusion by calculating how much the Swiss could save if pharmaceutical costs were at the levels of comparable European Union countries, reports the SonntagsZeitung.

Santésuisse president Heinz Brand is urging the government to act, saying it can no longer be tolerated that "numerous medicines whose patent protection has expired cost up to 100% more than in other countries”, according to the paper.

He is calling for an annual revision of prices, but this is opposed by the powerful pharmaceuticals industry because, as Anita Geiger of the Interpharma association is quoted as saying, "the costs for the authorities and companies would triple and be out of proportion to the cost savings".

The cost of compulsory health insurance has continued to rise, although the increase was more modest this year, and is a major burden on many people’s incomes.


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