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How Swiss residents are 'paying too much' for medicines and health insurance premiums

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How Swiss residents are 'paying too much' for medicines and health insurance premiums
Photo: AFP
11:46 CEST+02:00
An investigation conducted by Santésuisse, an association of Swiss health insurers, reveals that people in Switzerland are paying far too much for health insurance premiums and medicines, when compared to neighbours in the EU.

An investigation conducted by Santésuisse, an association of Swiss health insurers, reveals that people in Switzerland are collectively overpaying their health insurance premiums by more than 1 billion CHF.

The reason is the high price of medications, even those whose patent protection has expired, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.

“Many drugs whose patent protection has expired cost up to 100% more than abroad", Santésuisse president Heinz Brand told the SonntagsZeitung.

Santésuisse arrived at the 1 billion figure by calculating how much money could be saved if all the drugs consumed annually were as cheap in Switzerland as they are in comparable countries of the European Union.

The adjusted difference between EU and Swiss prices is 1.1 billion Swiss francs. For a family of four, this would lower the cost of the annual premium by about 380 francs.

Brand called on the government to review the pricing of medications.

However, Anita Geiger of the Interpharma, a group which represents Switzerland’s pharmaceutical companies, said annual price review would not save any money "because the costs to authorities and companies would be tripled and out of proportion to the savings made".

The Federal Office of Public Health, which sets drug prices in Switzerland, occasionally cuts the cost of certain medications.

In November 2018, for instance, it reduced the price of several common drugs by nearly 20%, but did not lower the price of 255 other medications because they were “economically sustainable” in Switzerland compared with costs in other countries and medications of similar type.

Health insurance is mandatory for all Swiss residents, including foreigners living here permanently.
 

 
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