The people’s initiative «Yes to a ban on animal and human experimentation – yes to research methods with impetus for safety and progress» aims to ban any experimental research on animals and humans in clinical trials, as well as the import of drugs that have been developed with the support of animal testing and clinical trials.
The adoption of this initiative would directly lead to the destruction of both academic and industry-based development of novel medicines in Switzerland.
University hospitals and research centers could no longer develop innovative medicines according to required international standards and highly innovative Swiss start-up companies would need to leave Switzerland immediately.
The highly successful Swiss biotech ecosystem comprises more than 1,000 start-ups and small to medium sized companies developing novel therapies addressing unmet medical needs globally.
This dynamic industry has created more than 50,000 jobs and is one of the leading research and development hubs for innovative medicines in the world. In collaboration with their research partners at universities, universities of applied sciences, hospitals, and multi-national pharma companies they enable Switzerland to be at the forefront of drug development and make Switzerland a respected partner in this field.
Also see our media release of January 17, 2022
Banning Swiss-based research organizations and biotech/pharma companies from running clinical trials and animal studies in Switzerland would totally isolate Switzerland internationally, and force all research institutions to either abandon the development of innovative drugs or to move significant parts of their operations to any other country.
Switzerland would self-impose restrictions on the development of new and innovative medicines and their international approval process which would conflict with legally required approval processes enforced in all other countries.
As with currently approved human medicines, the approval of future medicines will need to undergo animal studies and clinical trials with patients following strict international regulations required by any country in the world. Thus, prohibiting the import of such new drugs would directly destroy the Swiss healthcare system and essentially prohibit patients in Switzerland to access new and innovative medicines.
The proposed ban on medicine and research challenges the basic principle of a fair and inclusive healthcare system. Doctors would lose the ability to treat patients with some of the best-in class therapies. Patients with unresolved medical conditions, would lose their right to participate in clinical trials and therapeutic innovation.
Switzerland is a leading global hub of biomedical innovation. More than 1,000 biotech small and medium sized companies employ a highly skilled workforce of 50,000 specialists and attract the best researchers from all over the world.
International investors are attracted by the high-quality research performed in the country and readily provide funding to Swiss biotech startups. In 2020 they invested CHF 3.4 billion into Swiss based companies as they recognize the value and great potential of these companies. This funding is available to the entire value-chain of startups, suppliers, hospitals, and universities.
Most funding and jobs would be lost with the ban on the corresponding R&D activities. A ban would cause the loss of a highly skilled talent pool and impoverish the Swiss academic landscape.
Swiss innovators are part of an integrated global effort to deliver biomedical therapeutic solutions to the world. This shared effort has grown organically over decades and has been essential in developing therapies alleviating pain and saving millions of lives. This leading role also enables Switzerland to provide a superb healthcare system and to have access to the latest innovation in medical treatments.
As with trials in humans, experimental approaches involving animals are regulated by the Swiss law to highest international standards. The Competence Centre promotes the use of the 3R (Replace, Reduce and Refine) principle to animal trials in order to address animal welfare. It requires efficiency, effectiveness and respect when conducting experiments, which is closely monitored by cantonal authorities. Based on one of the strictest systems to reduce and to replace animal experimentation, wherever possible and already nowadays, in-vitro and in-silico methods are used as alternatives to experiments with animal involvement.