Swiss Group Suggests Switzerland Use Compulsory Licences To Curb Cancer Drug Prices 24/05/2018 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)During a side event held alongside this week’s World Health Assembly, public health advocates proposed that Switzerland use compulsory licensing as a way to decrease what they said are exorbitant drug prices. Public Eye, a well-known Swiss non-governmental organisation, convened the side event at the 71th World Health Assembly, taking place from 21-26 May. On this occasion, they launched a new campaign: ‘For Affordable Drugs’. According to Public Eye’s press release, the Swiss healthcare system is struggling to cope with the skyrocketing prices of new treatments, and in particular cancer drugs. Cancer treatments often reach over CHF 100,000 (US$100,000) per patient, per year, they said. They suggest that Switzerland use compulsory licences, a mechanism allowed under the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which allow countries to produce generic medicines if they do not successfully negotiate lower prices with the patent holders. Public Eye is supported by the Swiss Cancer League and is calling on Federal Councillors Berset and Schneider-Ammann “to take domestic and foreign policy measures to guarantee affordable drugs and to use compulsory licences whenever necessary.” “Patents are one of the main causes of skyrocketing drug prices. Backed by a monopoly and market exclusivity, pharma companies can essentially set prices as they please,” the release said. “State control mechanisms are toothless when confronted to the pricing power of pharmaceutical companies.” The NGO also published a paper on the issue of patents and prices: Protect patients, not patents [pdf]. They call on Switzerland to “unambiguously recognise compulsory licensing as legal, legitimate and effective tools. Resorting to this tool in a country where major pharmaceutical corporations are headquartered would ensure a sustainable healthcare system in Switzerland while sending a strong signal to the international community, motivating other countries to follow suit.” “This would open the door to access to essential drugs for millions of people,” they said. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Catherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Swiss Group Suggests Switzerland Use Compulsory Licences To Curb Cancer Drug Prices" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.