Contributed By Walder Wyss Ltd
Advertising on medicines in Switzerland is mainly governed by the Federal Act on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices (HMG) and the Ordinance on Advertising of Medicinal Products (AWV), which has just been revised (the amended provisions came into force on 1 January 2018, with the exception of the provisions concerning transparency). Furthermore, there are also general legal provisions that must be adhered to in connection with advertising, such as the Federal Act against Unfair Competition (UWG). In addition, provisions in connection with advertising can also be found in the Ordinance on Healthcare Insurance (KVV) and the Federal Act on the Medical Profession (MedBG).
The Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products (Swissmedic) has published several guidelines with regard to advertising on medicines.
Both the “Code of Conduct of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Switzerland” (Pharma Code) and the “Code of Conduct of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Switzerland on Cooperation with Healthcare Professional Circles and Patient Organizations” (Pharma Cooperation Code) are self-regulatory codes and contain provisions in connection with advertising of medicines.
Furthermore, the Guidelines on “Collaboration between the Medical Profession and Industry” (version of 2013) by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMW) comprise provisions regarding clinical research, basic and postgraduate medical training and continuing medical education, consultancy activities and acceptance of payments in cash or in kind.
Both the Pharma Code and the Pharma Cooperation Code were adopted by the Associations of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Switzerland. The signatories of the Pharma Code and of the Pharma Cooperation Code are listed online (eg on scienceindustries’ website). These codes bind the vast majority of pharmaceutical companies in Switzerland and contain detailed provisions with regard to the authority of the Code Secretariat in case of breaches of the codes as well as the procedures to follow (rule 6 Pharma Code; rule 5 Pharma Cooperation Code).
The Guidelines on “Collaboration between the Medical Profession and Industry” by the SAMW are directed at healthcare professionals. They are applicable to all members of the Foederatio Medicorum Helveticorum (FMH), which is the professional association of more than 40,000 Swiss doctors and the umbrella organisation of over 70 medical organisations (Article 18 of the Code of Professional Conduct of the FMH).