The political pressure on Switzerland’s government to address the problem has been intensifying for some time.
This week, the federal government announced nine measures to cut healthcare costs that it expects could save hundreds of millions of francs annually.
The key ones include improved negotiations with healthcare providers, reference prices for generic drugs and greater price transparency.
Reference prices for generic drugs, those with expired patents, could save CHF 300 to CHF 500 million, estimates the Federal Council. Currently, these drugs in Switzerland generally cost double what they do abroad. Reference prices will create a price ceiling.
Currently, some negotiations between health insurers and healthcare providers are piecemeal and often breakdown. The federal government will introduce a system to require certain provisions to be covered by nationwide deals and measures to control price rises unjustified by rising costs.
Many healthcare providers, hospitals in particular, currently fail to provide cost information to everyone involved. The federal government will introduce rules forcing providers to supply this information to the federal government, cantonal governments and patients. This will enable more checks and better enforcement of legal limits.