Measures for human medicines

An adequate supply of medicines is crucial for public health, especially when it comes to dealing with a pandemic. The Therapeutic Products division puts appropriate measures in place in order to prevent shortfalls or to be able to cope with them without major consequences for the public.

Measures for veterinary medicinal products

Switzerland has compulsory stocks of antibiotic veterinary medicinal products which cover normal requirements for two months.

Compulsory stocks are used to ensure that sufficient quantities of antibiotics can continue to be used appropriately in the event of a shortage, thereby reducing the risk of antibiotic resistance developing. Excessive and improper use of antibiotics can lead to the emergence of resistant bacteria, and these can also be transmitted to humans. In order to minimise the risk of this occurring, the Strategy on Antibiotic Resistance Switzerland (StAR) has been drawn up. The strategy defines a list of first-line antibiotics available to veterinarians to treat farm animals. In the event of a shortage of these first-line antibiotics, the compulsory stocks provide reserves to bridge the shortage in the short term and thus ensure the appropriate use of antibiotics.

Since supply bottlenecks for veterinary medicines are occurring with increased frequency, these compulsory stocks ensure additional security of supply, at least in the short term. Only selected antibiotics are kept in the compulsory stocks of veterinary medicinal products (Ordinance on the compulsory stockpiling of medicinal products SR 531.215.31).

Compulsory stockpiling can also help to ensure that Switzerland has an adequate supply of veterinary medicines to comply with the Swiss Animal Welfare Act (AniWA), albeit in a modest way, as only antibiotics are held.

Article 3 of the National Economic Supply Act states that the supply of goods and services to the country is fundamentally a matter for the private sector. Compulsory stocks are only released if a serious nationwide shortage is identified following an assessment of the supply situation with all suppliers of an active substance.

Last modification 01.12.2023

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