Health: A right for all

© Public Eye / Mark Henley /Shutterstock

In poor countries, people die because they have no access to medication, or their vulnerable situation is exploited for unethical drug testing. Even in rich countries, treatments are increasingly rationed because the healthcare systems are running out of funds. The innovation system, which is based on patents and short-term profits, is not working properly anymore. With its pharmaceutical giants Roche and Novartis as well as a compliant government, Switzerland bears a special responsibility in this situation.

There are solutions - it is simply a question of political will.

Access to medication

More than two billion people worldwide have no access to essential medication. This problem not only concerns developing countries, but also rich countries like Switzerland. The main reason is the explosion of the cost of medication, in particular for cancer. Because of the monopoly resulting from patents, pharmaceutical companies can – more or less – fix the prices as they wish. Governments are both the hostages and accomplices of the all-powerful pharma giants. However, they can act by issuing a compulsory licence, a legal instrument enabling the sale of cheaper generic products.

Clinical Trials

For strategic reasons and the drive for profit, drug testing on human beings is often delocalised to developing, and especially emergent, countries. All the big firms are involved, including the Swiss companies Roche et Novartis. Our investigations demonstrate that thus “globalisation of clinical trials” is accompanied by ethical violations, in an opaque climate. All too often, this massive delocalisation leads to exploitation.

Big Pharma: a perverted business model

For decades, Public Eye has done evidence-based research and public campaigns to shed light on the perverted business model of Switzerland’s large pharmaceutical companies – maximising profits to the detriment of the human right to health. Our campaigns at the national and multilateral levels also denounce the inaction and/or the obstructive stance of our government in achieving universal access to lifesaving treatments.

Thank you for your support Health, a right for all