Medicine & Liberty : Network of liberty oriented doctors

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How Swiss Health Lobbies Hurt Health

After championing generics as the ultimate cost-cutting tool, Santé Suisse, Switzerland's omnipotent health insurance lobby, now calls for tougher price control of drugs including generics. It notably proposes to level Swiss pricing with countries where drugs are cheaper.

Markets prices of drugs as of those of bread or of cars depend on a variety of invisible factors many of which are specific to local conditions. By relentlessly pushing for more interventionism and price control in health care economy, Swiss social insurers ultimately foster scarcity as all XXth century experiments in price control have demonstrated. Fixing the price of medicines below those of market will first hit novel curative drugs and will discourage research and innovation. Chronic conditions will remain chronic through lack of new curative medications, as TBC was before the development of Koch-bacillus killing therapies. Global costs of health insurance will rise. More price control and intervention will be called for. Once the vicious circle of price interventionism is set, even marginal manufacturers of lower market generics will ultimately get out of the business of selling their products to humans and may look for more profitable outlets in unregulated veterinarian markets.

In Switzerland as elsewhere, third party social security payers have abandonned their original mission of securing access to health care. They have moved to a merciless and counter-productive cost-cutting agenda that hurts ailing members of human society and jeopardizes medical progress thus also hitting the health of future generations.

Alphonse Crespo MD

August 12, 2008