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The Swiss authorities should protect patients – not patents

The Swiss authorities should protect patients – not patents

Every person is entitled to the highest attainable standard of health; that is a fundamental human right which includes access to life-saving medicines. The WHO estimates that nevertheless over two billion people in the world are deprived of the treatment they need. The main cause: the skyrocketing price of medicines. This infernal spiral has affected cancer drugs in particular. It has become common for these treatments to cost over CHF 100,000 per year per patient.

How has this situation arisen? Due to the monopoly that they obtain through patents, pharmaceutical companies can set the price of drugs almost as they want, in a completely opaque manner, and make juicy profits by doing so. These exorbitant prices mean that many patients are unable to receive the most suitable treatment. Whilst in the past this problem was mostly seen in developing countries, it is now also affecting the Swiss population, as evidenced by the recent rationing imposed by the authorities on Hepatitis C treatments.

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Prof. Franco Cavalli

Oncologist and former chair of the Swiss Cancer League

Dr Ellen ‘t Hoen

Expert in intellectual property law, Director of Medicines Law and Policy

Dr Francisco Rossi

Director of Ifarma (Colombia), Latin America representative of HAI

Patrick Durisch

Health policy expert at Public Eye

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