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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Like everything else, drugs cost more in Switzerland than in many other countries. Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

The UK added to Switzerland’s list of high-risk countries

From May 27th at 6 pm,  Great Britain has been placed on the Health Ministry’s list of nations with a high incidence of virus mutations.

Great Britain has been added to the list due to the “worrying” Covid-19 variant circulating there, according the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This means travellers from the UK must present a negative coronavirus test and undergo a quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland, even if they are fully vaccinated. Same rules apply to those arriving from Brazil, Canada, India, Nepal and South Africa.

From May 31st, vaccinated visitors from other countries, or those who have recovered from Covid no more than six months ago, will no longer have to test or quarantine when entering Switzerland.

Two Swiss biotech companies make progress on Covid treatment

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis announced the launch of phase II and III clinical trials on an anti-Covid treatment it developed in partnership with Zurich-based biotechnology company Molecular Partners.

The new trials with 400 patients will evaluate the treatment, called ensovibep, after receiving positive results in phase I. The results will be known in August.

This is one of the two promising anti-Covid drugs being developed either wholly or partially in Switzerland. The other is a combination of antibodies from the Swiss company, Roche and US-based Regeneron.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s Roche reports promising results from anti-Covid cocktail

Two Swiss specialties now have protected status

Jambon de la Borne ham and Boutefas sausage from Vaud and Fribourg will carry the protected designations of origin (PDO) label given to typical and unique products with strong links to the place in which they are made.

Jambon de la Borne and Boutefas are two typical and unique products, not only for their origin and history, but also for their manufacture, quality and taste. The protection of these names will make it possible to defend their reputation and their excellent quality.

“Anchored in centuries-old traditions, the recipes and artisanal know-how of making Jambon de la Borne and Boutefas have been passed down over the centuries within rural families”, Federal Office of Agriculture said in a press release.

In all, 40 Swiss products have a PDO label.

Generic drugs are almost twice as expensive in Switzerland

In European countries, prices of generic medication are on average 45.2 percent cheaper than in Switzerland, according to a new study  carried out jointly by Santésuisse and Interpharma.

The price level of patent-protected medicines is on average 6.9 percent lower in Europe than in Switzerland, while the original preparations, whose patent has expired, cost 11.5 percent less abroad.

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland about to become even more expensive?

Is Coop going to spy on its clients?

The supermarket is modernising its hand-held “Passabene” scanners, equipping them with a camera and a microphone.

There is concern that the retailer intends to use these devices to spy on the customers, tracking their movements in the store.

“This is real-time monitoring and we don’t know where all the data will be stored”, said data protection expert Sébastien Fanti.

However, Coop denies that it intends to use the new scanners to track clients, pointing out that neither the microphone nor the camera will be activated.

Even if Coop doesn’t activate these features, “wireless scanners are still hackable. The use of these devices is totally absurd”, Fanti said.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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