Medicines Review 2023: Reducing Prices for a More Sustainable Future

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Bern, 02.11.2023 - During its three-year review in 2023, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced an average ten percent cut in the prices of 350 medicines. This review promises to result in savings of at least 120 million francs, a significant step toward more sustainable healthcare. During the last two review cycles (2017-2019 and 2020-2022), a total of 740 million francs was saved, helping to reduce costs for mandatory health care insurance.

The FOPH undertakes an annual review of the efficacy, appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of a significant proportion of the medicines on the specialty list. This review process includes an evaluation of medicine prices, with the goal of ensuring that they are in line with the criteria required for funding by mandatory health care insurance.

Medicines have been divided into three units of equal size, and one of these units is reviewed each year. The year 2023 marked the beginning of a new review cycle, involving medicines used in different areas, such as gastroenterology, hormone therapy, and oncology.

So far, 60% of the original medicines reviewed have undergone price reductions. However, for some of them, it remains to be determined whether these reductions will actually be implemented, as approval holders have announced appeals. In 40% of the cases, no reductions were necessary because prices remain competitive with other reference medicines.

The review also involved generics, co-marketed medicines, and biosimilars, with 60% of them experiencing price reductions. These measures will take effect on December 1, 2023, and are expected to lead to significant savings for the health care system.

In addition, through the 2022 review, savings of at least 80 million francs were achieved, exceeding last fall's estimates. Overall, with the review cycles between 2017 and 2022, as much as 740 million francs were saved.

These advances in cost containment offer hope for a more sustainable future in healthcare, ensuring that patients have access to effective therapies at fair prices. Continued efforts to ensure the effectiveness and affordability of medicines suggest to us that the Swiss health care system is working toward more accessible and efficient health care.