No comprehensive national strategy explicitly dedicated to medication safety exists in Switzerland. The federalist system of government with relative autonomy of the cantons relating to healthcare laws influences the implementation of national healthcare reforms, also to the disadvantage of medication safety. Direct dispensing of drugs by the prescribing physician is permitted in almost all German-speaking cantons. This special feature of the Swiss system implies specific challenges for medication safety. Nonetheless, there is an increasing number of national activities dealing with various aspects of medication safety, such as the “progress!” programmes within the National Quality Strategy. Within the National Research Programme “Smarter Health Care” (NRP 74) of the Swiss National Science Foundation, several research projects are currently focusing on medication safety. Clinical pharmacy activities in hospitals are relatively widespread. In the primary care sector, pharmaceutical care practice and the corresponding competencies for pharmacists are being further developed. However, a comprehensive strategy, priority-setting and effectiveness studies involving all stakeholders are required in order for the Swiss healthcare system, to meet the challenges facing medication safety in a forward-looking manner.
Liat Fishman, Lea Brühwiler, David Schwappach