Masterplan for the Promotion of Biomedical Research: implementation on track

Bern, 21.06.2017 - The Masterplan for the Promotion of Biomedical Research was launched by the Federal Council with the aim of boosting Switzerland as a centre of research and technology and assuring the population affordable access to new products developed in biomedicine. The masterplan is being implemented in close collaboration with partners in research, industry and healthcare. At its 21 June 2017 meeting, the Federal Council was informed on the status of implementation.

The masterplan comprises 23 measures covering education/training and continuing education, the framework for research involving humans, health data, rare (orphan) diseases, market access and reimbursement. Some of these measures have already been implemented, and major progress has been made on others. The current areas of focus include young research talent, promoting research, medical device safety and the security of drug supply.

The Young Talents in Clinical Research funding programme
Successful clinical research requires appropriately trained specialists with the time, expertise and resources to engage in research. In October 2016 the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) published the Roadmap for Developing the Next Generation of Clinical Researchers. The first milestones have been reached. For example the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) has launched the Young Talents in Clinical Research funding programme to enable young physicians to gain their first research experience. Four million francs are available to the programme up to and including 2020.

Protected research time
In 2016 the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) introduced two new initiatives which are important in terms of academic clinical research: Protected Research Time for Clinicians, and the new special programme for Investigator Initiated Clinical Trials, worth 10 million francs a year. With an evaluation of the first call for proposals showing that this measure has generated a great deal of interest, the SNSF has decided to call for proposals for investigator-initiated clinical trials every year up to and including 2020.

Safety standards for medical devices
In May 2017 the EU enacted two new regulations on medical devices that are also relevant for supply to the public in Switzerland. The EU’s goal is to increase patient safety by tightening the safety standards for medical devices. To ensure that people continue to have straightforward access to new and proven medical devices from the European Single Market, the legal framework in Switzerland will be adapted accordingly. Switzerland is already part of European market supervision by way of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA).

Security of drug supply
The issue of the security of the drug supply was added to the measures covered by the masterplan in 2016. The reporting office of the Federal Office for National Economic Supply (FONES) has significantly improved the exchange of information between the authorities, industry and care providers and thus enhanced the supply of medicinal products. This exchange of information is part of the measures mentioned by the Federal Council in its report in response to the Heim postulate (12.3426) procedural request. With the revision of the Therapeutic Products Act, parliament has also resolved additional measures in areas such as children’s drugs, medicinal products with well-established use, and niche preparations such as antidotes and radiopharmaceuticals.

The masterplan is part of the Health 2020 strategy approved by the Federal Council in December 2013. The Federal Council informed the public on the status of implementation back in 2015. In 2018 an interim appraisal will be conducted of the measures to date and a decision taken concerning the next steps.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Public Health, Communications, or 058 462 95 05


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Home Affairs

Federal Office of Public Health

Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products

Last modification 03.10.2018

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