Cost point and prices

Price advantage of generics

Generics are significantly cheaper than the original preparations. Depending on the medicine, dosage and package size, the price difference between generics and original preparations amounts to 30-70%.

Patient’s contribution

The introduction of a differentiated patient contribution as per 1.1.2006 (20% for originals, 10% for generics) initially accelerated the growth of the generics market. However, the retrospective establishment of the redemption possibility for originals reduced this dynamic massively. Many original manufacturers reduced their prices to a theoretical generics level, in order to free themselves from the higher patient contribution. With a one-off price reduction to a theoretical “generics level”, the patient contribution for the originals also decreases to 10 percent. However, due to the dynamisation of the differentiated patient contribution introduced in the year 2011, this privilege is now limited to 2 years.

How are the generics prices established?

When their patent expires, the prices of the original preparations are subject to a foreign price comparison and are adapted to the European price level. The price of generics is orientated towards the price of the Swiss original preparations after their price adaptations to foreign countries. For Swiss generics there is therefore also an indirect European price comparison. Upon market launch, generics in Switzerland must be up to 60% lower priced than the respective original preparation: for original products with a weak annual turnover of max. 4 million CHF, the price gap is set to 10%.

Cheapening of medicines  – a risk for patients?

The Federal Council would like to reduce the cost of medicines. It wants to introduce so-called reference prices for patent-free medicines. Today doctors have the freedom of choice to prescribe the most suitable medicine.
In future, health insurances are supposed to decide to what extent medicines are reimbursed. If the doctor and patient choose a more expensive medicine, the patient pays the difference from their own pocket or else must accept a cheaper medicine. Doctors, pharmaceutical companies and patients are concerned about a cheapening of medicines and are taking a stand against it.