After a major pharmaceutical company announced the withdrawal of a medicinal product from the Swiss market, Swiss newspaper reported that local pharmacists stepped in quickly and delivered to their customers an extemporaneous preparation instead of the withdrawn medicinal product. There move received great attention in the public and they were celebrated like local heroes.
The revised Swiss patent law made this possible:
For the making of extemporaneous preparations based on a medical prescription, a Swiss pharmacist is no longer limited to producing preparations where patent protection expired. The new pharmacist's privilege grants Swiss pharmacists the right to produce magistral preparations without the patent owner's consent. The new patent law provision exempts all actions of the pharmacist in relation to the making of an extemporaneous preparation, including storage, sale and advertising. The only requirement is that the preparation is carried out individually and "in execution of a medical prescription" in a Swiss pharmacy. The law does not require the active substance to have been supplied by the patent owner or, with his consent, by a third party. Neither is it necessary that there is a supply bottleneck nor that equivalent medicinal products are readily available in Switzerland. It is thus permissible for Swiss pharmacists to make magistral formulations using prefabricated bulk goods that they previously purchased abroad.
Will Swiss pharmacists be able to make use of these new business opportunities?