Figures for generics in 2022*
Sales of all SL drugs
(+5.9% vs. previous year)
Sales of generics & biosimilars
(+12% vs. previous year)
Sales of generics & biosimilars
Unexploited savings potential
*Sales (million CHF) at ex-factory price, all medications on the specialty list, i.e. the medication costs are charged to the obligatory health insurance
Summary Efficiency contribution of generics in 2022
Against the background of an alleged cost explosion in the health care system, generic drug prices have also been denounced for years in an international comparison. In fact, this cost explosion does not exist. The fact is: Total expenditure is subject to natural growth – also due to population growth that has been taking place for years – in absolute figures, but not disproportionately so that there can be no talk of an explosive increase. Per capita growth in healthcare costs is even declining. also in his blog, Dr. René P. Buholzer, Managing Director of Interpharma, speaks of a “fairy tale about the cost explosion” in the health care system: “When I think back to the political discussions of the past few years, the majority of them were about constantly rising health care costs and corresponding fears that they would soon not be more bearable. But has this explosion in health care costs really happened over the past decade, and are the complaints about unchecked cost growth justified? Both questions can be denied: Mr. Buholzer also illustrates this with a graph that not only shows that the growth in per capita health care costs is falling, but that Switzerland is only in the middle in an international comparison when it comes to “health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP”.
Patented products drive drug spending
Another misperception prevails when it comes to drug spending, which is illustrated by current evaluations by the data and analytics company IQVIA. While drug spending in the context of total health care spending has been developing consistently in the order of 12-13% over the last few years, IQVIA notes that drug spending in the so-called SL market (market in which the costs of compulsory health care insurance are taken over) the patented products are the primary drivers of drug expenditure – while generics and biosimilars are recording an increasing market share and the highest volume growth and thus making a dynamically growing savings contribution to the healthcare system.
Generics and biosimilars: increasing efficiency contributions, untapped potential
An analysis of the sales figures in 2022 by bwa consulting ag, Bern, underscores the increasing efficiency contributions of quality medicines that have expired. According to this, almost CHF 600 million could be saved in the Swiss healthcare system in 2022 thanks to generics and biosimilars. However, the study also points out that the efficiency gains could have been significantly greater if generics and biosimilars had been consistently prescribed instead of the more expensive original drugs.
EDI/BAG jeopardizes a functioning system
Although generics and biosimilars are not to be held responsible for the growth in drug expenditure, but instead deliver continuously growing savings contributions, they are under constant price pressure from EDI/BAG, which try to reduce the prices of patent-free quality drugs to absurdly low prices via the prescription route . At a time when the security of supply of inexpensive essential medicines in basic care is being disavowed, such regulatory measures can accentuate supply bottlenecks. This policy not only uses the wrong lever, as explained, but also compromises the entire system and will ultimately drive other providers out of the market.
«Nicht nur Ärzte und Apotheker stehen in der Pflicht, in der Therapie wenn immer möglich Generika einzusetzen – auch die Patientinnen und Patienten sollen ihren Beitrag leisten und mitreden.»
(Source: bwa consulting, Bern)