Protect patients, not patents

How medicine prices are leading to two-tiered healthcare in Switzerland

How medicine prices are leading to two-tiered health. Access to lifesaving medicines is no longer confined to developing countries – it has become a global issue. Even high-income economies like Switzerland struggle to guarantee universal coverage, with cancer treatments frequently costing well over CHF 100,000 per patient per year. Monopolies conferred by patents are the root cause of these escalating drug prices as they provide pharmaceutical companies with market exclusivity and extraordinary pricing power. Governmental price control mechanisms are toothless in trying to curb this inflationary trend, pushing governments to implement controversial reimbursement limitations or even rationing decisions. Yet high medicine prices are not predestined and political solutions exist. A compulsory license can efficiently drive excessive drug prices down by creating competition in a patent-monopoly situation.

This Public Eye report analyses the situation in Switzerland regarding the escalating prices of cancer medicines and calls on the Swiss authorities to use compulsory licences whenever the balance between public and private interests is broken.