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Watchdog targets health and public services

The new price regulator has called for tighter controls of pharmaceutical products and pledged to examine fees on water and waste disposal.

Stefan Meierhans said one of his priorities for 2009 was to create greater price transparency for consumers regarding state-run services as well as private companies.

Meierhans urged the interior ministry to extend the comparison of drugs prices to low-price countries and to introduce more regular checks.

He said the pharmaceutical industry had a special responsibility as it was exempted from increased competition through cheap imports from European Union countries.

Last year parliament decided to allow parallel imports of some goods currently protected by patent in Switzerland, but medical products still remain shielded.

Meierhans, who succeeded Rudolf Strahm in October, also pledged to launch a survey of prices for crèches.

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