Contributed By Walder Wyss Ltd
Advertising directed at the general public for prescription-only medicines is prohibited, whereas advertising for over-the-counter medicines is permitted. Advertising directed at the general public is deemed unlawful for medicines that contain narcotic or psychotropic substances and for medicines that may not, on account of their composition and their intended use, be used without the intervention of a doctor for the necessary diagnosis, prescription or treatment. This also applies to medicines that are frequently the object of abuse or that lead to an addiction or dependence. Furthermore, all advertising is deemed unlawful if it is misleading or contrary to public order and morality, if it may incite an excessive, abusive or inappropriate use of medicines or if it is for medicines that may not be placed on the market in Switzerland (Article 31 paragraph 1 lit. b and Article 32 HMG; Article 14 AWV).
According to the KVV, medicines that are advertised to the public will not be included in the SL. Medicines included in the SL will be deleted if the marketing authorisation holder directly or indirectly advertises the medicine to the public (Article 65 paragraph 2 and Article 68 paragraph 1 lit. d KVV). A medicine that is not listed in the SL is not covered by compulsory healthcare insurance.
All advertisements directed at the public are further subject to the provisions regarding unfair competition. Any behaviour or business conduct that is deceptive or otherwise contrary to the principle of good faith and that affects the relationship between competitors or between suppliers and customers is deemed unlawful (Article 2 UWG). In particular, any company that disparages other companies, its goods or prices by making incorrect, misleading or unnecessarily offensive statements or who takes measures that are likely to cause confusion with their goods acts unfairly. It is further prohibited to compare a company or a company’s goods or prices in an incorrect, misleading or unnecessarily disparaging or similar manner with others, their goods or prices (Article 3 paragraph 1 lit. a, d and e UWG).