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Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies in Switzerland


  • Valérie Paris
  • Elizabeth Docteur


This paper examines aspects of the policy environment and market characteristics of the Swiss pharmaceutical sector, and assesses the degree to which Switzerland has achieved certain policy goals. In Switzerland, pharmaceutical spending has not been growing faster than health expenditure as a whole, as has been the case in many other OECD countries. Swiss pharmaceutical spending per capita and as a share of GDP is modest by OECD standards. This in part reflects relatively low levels of pharmaceutical consumption, given that public prices are among the highest in Europe and the Swiss tend to be early adopters of new pharmaceutical products. Switzerland’s regulation of prices for reimbursed drugs, based on referencing across countries and within the therapeutic class for products with comparators, appears to result in prices lower than what would be obtained absent regulation. Although ex-manufacturer prices are somewhat high relative to other European countries, recent reforms have reduced the differential. While costs are under control, Switzerland has scope to improve the cost-effectiveness of its expenditures in the pharmaceutical area. Generic penetration of the market is increasing but falls short of what has been achieved elsewhere and the prices of generic products are higher than what is found in other countries. Relatively high mark-ups over ex-factory prices suggest that the distribution chain is a source of further potential efficiencies, although high costs could also reflect characteristics of the Swiss economy... Ce document passe en revue différents aspects des politiques et des caractéristiques de marché du secteur pharmaceutique en Suisse et évalue l’atteinte des objectifs relatifs à la politique pharmaceutique suisse. En Suisse, les dépenses pharmaceutiques n’ont pas augmenté plus vite que l’ensemble des dépenses de santé, contrairement ce qui s’est passé dans de nombreux autres pays de l’OCDE. Les dépenses de médicaments par habitant, et en proportion du PIB, restent modérées par rapport à la moyenne des pays de l’OCDE. Cela tient en partie au niveau relativement faible de la consommation pharmaceutique, puisque les prix publics sont parmi les plus élevés en Europe et les Suisses enclins à adopter rapidement les nouveaux produits. La régulation des prix des prix des médicaments remboursés, basée sur des comparaisons internationales et, le cas échéant, sur les prix des comparateurs au sein d’une même classe thérapeutique, semble conduire à des niveaux de prix moins élevés que ce qu’ils seraient sans régulation. Même si les prix fabricants sont relativement élevés par rapport à ce qu’ils sont dans d’autres pays européens, les récentes réformes ont réduit l’écart. Les coûts sont certes maîtrisés mais la Suisse pourrait aller encore plus loin pour améliorer l’efficience de ses dépenses pharmaceutiques. Le taux de pénétration des génériques sur le marché s’améliore mais reste inférieur à ce qu’il est ailleurs et les prix des génériques sont plus élevés que dans d’autres pays. Les marges relativement élevées appliquées sur les prix fabricants donnent à penser que les circuits de distribution pourraient être rationalisés, même si les coûts élevés peuvent aussi refléter certaines caractéristiques de l’économie suisse...

Suggested Citation

  • Valérie Paris & Elizabeth Docteur, 2007. "Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies in Switzerland," OECD Health Working Papers 27, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:elsaad:27-en

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:eujhec:v:18:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s10198-016-0857-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kanavos, Panos, 2014. "Measuring performance in off-patent drug markets: A methodological framework and empirical evidence from twelve EU Member States," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 229-241.

    More about this item


    marché pharmaceutique; pharmaceutical market; pharmaceutical policy; politique pharmaceutique; pricing and reimbursement; Suisse; Switzerland; tarification et remboursement;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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