Medicines: mail order business in Switzerland

According to information from the World Trade Organization (WTO), Switzerland is currently implementing a project to liberalize the mail-order trade in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

In compliance with the Stahl postulate (19.3382) «Mail order trade in non-prescription drugs», the Federal Council has examined the possibilities for a safe and high-quality mail order trade in non-prescription drugs.

In general, the mail order trade of medicinal products is prohibited in Switzerland.

However, the cantons may authorize pharmacies to do so if the order is accompanied by a prescription.


Given today’s extensive technological possibilities, such as video telephony, the increased use of smartphones and the experience gained from the pandemic, the Federal Council decided on November 24, 2021 to submit a proposal to simplify the mail order trade in over-the-counter medicines, while ensuring patient safety and the quality of medicines at all times.

The opening of the consultation on the corresponding revision of the Therapeutic Products Act is scheduled for 2023.

Another project in Switzerland is the message on the Gas Supply Act: to date, there is no uniform nationwide framework for the functioning of competition in the gas market.

Although the 2012 Associations Agreement regulated network access for gas supply to large industrial customers, it did not grant other end consumers the right to freely choose their supplier.

In 2020, the Competition Commission decided that smaller end consumers should also be able to freely choose their supplier.

The Gas Supply Act (GasVG) now aims to define uniform and clear rules so that an efficient gas market can emerge.

A WTO report points out that competition in the domestic market and the openness of the Swiss economy to the outside world are among the weak points of the economy. In this respect, the recent strengthening of the market position of retail chains in other countries is to be welcomed.

How does Switzerland intend to further increase competition among limited retail chains? Switzerland’s answer is the two projects mentioned above.


Redacción Opportimes