Last week, the government announced that it had shaved CHF 100 million off the cost of drug purchases from 1 January 2020.
This week numbers obtained by RTS from Curafutura, a health insurance association, show drug spending rose CHF 420 million from CHF 6.9 billion to CHF 7 billion between October 2018 and September 2019 and the same period 12 month a year before.
Over the last five years spending on drugs has risen 26%. Savings are not keeping up with runaway costs.
The challenge is twofold. The government says that new expensive treatments are constantly being added, new cancer treatments in particular. According to Andreas Schiesser, a spokesperson for Curafutura, the discounts demanded by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) are too timid.
Five of the ten most costly drugs were not considered for price reductions. CHF 930 million was spent on these ten drugs alone. Currently, the consumption volume of medicines is not factored in when securing price reductions.
There is no legal basis for deeper discounts on drugs consumed in higher volumes, according to FOPH. However, the Federal Council is looking at the rules around drug discounts and parliament is due to look at issue soon.