Switzerland

June 2021 Edition

Preface

Despite considerable handwringing and soul searching over a perceived lost competitiveness when it comes to domestic market performance – a modest growth rate of 2.8 percent last year coupled with significant delays to drug reimbursement – plucky Switzerland still manages to hold its own as a focal point for innovation and discovery in global medical science. Consequently, the country continues to rank very highly on the radar of both Big Pharma and the international biotech community alike.

As well as Switzerland’s continuing relevance to the European and global pharma industry, pharma is truly at the core of the Swiss economy, generating a full 5.4 percent of the country’s GDP, a number which rises to 9.2 percent when indirect effects are factored in. Moreover, the industry now accounts for a massive 45 percent of Switzerland’s total exports.

This exclusive and wide-ranging new report examines the fundamentals underpinning Switzerland’s continuing value proposition for innovators across the pharma, biotech, and medtech spectrum; the new discoveries emerging from the country and the role that Swiss innovation has had in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as the access challenges that participants in the Swiss market are facing today.

Also covered are Switzerland’s long road towards digitalisation and better utilisation of data; the country’s increasing focus on translational science; how Swissmedic, Switzerland’s regulatory body, is transforming; and its crucial positioning within global supply chains.

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Forewords

Anne Lévy

Director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Swiss Confederation

Dear members of the international healthcare community,

Medical innovation is part of Switzerland’s DNA. In Basel, pharmaceutical powerhouses form the core of the cityscape. From Zurich to Lausanne, major research institutions and universities pave the way in science and innovation. Geneva hosts a thriving biotech hub and the WHO provides international health solutions to countries that have the deepest need for them. The healthcare industry is not only a key driver of Swiss economic prosperity, but also a key channel through which Switzerland contributes to the development of innovative therapies for the world’s population.

All areas of medicine have developed considerably in recent years. Some particularly innovative treatments now make it possible to treat diseases that gave us no hope even a few years ago. This entrepreneurial spirit brought by the healthcare industry in Switzerland, as well as highly educated medical staff, enables us to push further the limits of medicine every day.

However, this progress also creates major challenges for the Swiss healthcare system, which must remain affordable to all inhabitants. Its quality and success depend on a complex state of equilibrium. The necessary collaboration between healthcare professionals, health insurers and government authorities makes it possible to find effective and sustainable solutions to ensure that the entire population has access to the best therapies.

The COVID-19 pandemic is putting our healthcare systems to the test. These difficult times have shown that strong collaboration between all stakeholders in the healthcare system, whether private or public, was the only way to address this unprecedented crisis.

This successful combination of a strong entrepreneurial culture and a solid spirit of collaboration – the hallmark of the Swiss healthcare system – will be of great use in the coming years as healthcare becomes increasingly digitalised. The opportunities are promising, in terms of the way patients are treated and the way treatments are organised and enabled. However, there are also serious challenges such as how to ensure data protection. A first milestone will be reached in 2021 with the opening of the electronic patient record, a tool for the digitalisation of personal medical records.

Anne Lévy

Director of the Federal Office of Public Health, Swiss Confederation

René P. Bulhozer

Managing Director, Interpharma

Distinguished members of the life sciences community,

As CEO of Interpharma, the association of Switzerland’s research-based pharmaceutical industry, I am delighted to introduce the latest edition of the Healthcare & Life Science Review Switzerland.

2020 has been an extraordinary year – for the world and for our industry. It has brought suffering and loss to many and an unprecedented strain on healthcare systems across the globe. I am immensely proud of the innovative pharmaceutical industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working collaboratively to deliver solutions regarding equipment, treatment, and vaccines. Today, Switzerland and Swiss companies are at the heart of the fight against this global crisis.

Although COVID-19 has dominated headlines, our industry has continued to bring forward innovative solutions across the entire healthcare spectrum in collaboration with Switzerland’s world-class physicians, academics, hospitals, and universities.

Our priorities have not changed but are today informed by the pandemic experience. First, we are continually pushing for a greater level of patient-centricity in Swiss healthcare. It is our aim that patients have early access to the best and most efficient treatments in a sustainably financed manner. Second, we work for Switzerland to foreground its position as a global R&D leader via more significant levels of collaboration and digitalization. Third, we advocate for a more robust economic-policy framework to support all our endeavours.

While the global landscape has changed immeasurably, I am confident that the Swiss based innovative pharmaceutical industry has a crucial role to play in shaping a better and healthier future, for Switzerland and for the world. I invite all stakeholders to read this report and learn more about the ground-breaking work being done in Switzerland to reach this ambitious goal.

Respectfully yours,

Dr. René P. Buholzer

CEO and Delegate of the Board

Interpharma

Marcel Plattner

president, Association of Pharmaceutical Companies in Switzerland (vips)

Distinguished members of the life sciences community,

As president of the Association of Pharmaceutical Companies in Switzerland (vips), I am pleased to introduce the Healthcare & Life Sciences Review Switzerland. Through this report, the Swiss life sciences community can foster greater awareness of Switzerland’s contribution to global medical and pharmaceutical science.

Switzerland tops world innovation rankings on several metrics and in healthcare and the life sciences possesses a rich ecosystem of academics and doctors at top-class universities and hospitals, as well as private sector companies, big and small, bringing cutting-edge medical innovation to patients across the globe.

Through the wide-ranging overview of the Swiss pharmaceutical industry’s influence and impact contained within this report, industry stakeholders will be able to gain an idea of our immense progress and the challenges currently standing before us.

Respectfully yours,

 

Marcel Plattner

president, Association of Pharmaceutical Companies in Switzerland (vips)

Featured Content
Cover Story
The Great Influencer

Despite considerable handwringing and soul searching over a perceived lost competitiveness when it comes to domestic market performance – a modest growth rate of 2.8 percent last year coupled with significant delays to drug reimbursement – plucky Switzerland still manages to hold its own as a focal point for innovation and discovery in global medical science. Consequently, the country continues to rank very highly on the radar of both Big Pharma and the international biotech community alike.

Facts & Figures
Interviews
Articles

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2021. Healthcare & Life Sciences Review was produced by Pharmaboardroom.

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