Swiss health foreign policy and access to therapeutic products

Protection of intellectual property within the context of the Swiss foreign policy on health

In 2019, the Federal Council adopted the revised Swiss Health Foreign Policy for the years 2019 to 2024 (SHFP, pdf). It provides Switzerland with guiding principles and action areas for key global health issues. One of the six priority action areas of the policy is improving access to therapeutic products. The IPI contributes specialist knowledge to the work and positions of the Swiss Health Foreign Policy, regarding topics such as the role of intellectual property as a key incentive for the research and development of new medicinal products and the delicate balance between IP protection and public health.

Access to medicines and vaccines depends on many factors, including:

  • research and development,
  • financing and protection of intellectual property (IP),
  • marketing authorisation,
  • supply chains and distribution channels,
  • the design of the health care system and infrastructure in general,
  • the framework conditions of a national economy.

Access to essential medicines is a particularly complex challenge, both in low and middle-income countries and in high-income countries (e.g. Switzerland), and requires a holistic approach. A graphic representation of important factors for access can be found in the flyer "What drives access to quality medical products for all" (pdf).
The agencies of the Federal Administration concerned with the topics and action areas closely collaborate on the implementation of the health policy. They ensure that Switzerland's interests are represented coherently at both international and national level.