Healthcare sector in Switzerland

Nurse working hospital ward

With about £38 billion, Swiss spending on healthcare stands at 11% of gross domestic product (GDP). This makes Switzerland 2nd in the world after the USA.

Market overview

Switzerland is a good export market especially for British companies manufacturing innovative products.

With Europe’s highest per capita income, Switzerland is an attractive yet demanding market with one of the best healthcare systems in the world.

Infrastructures are of very high quality and Swiss people have easy access to the latest products and technologies.

Spending in Healthcare is divided as follows:

  • Hospitals: £16.2 billion

  • Outpatient providers: 13.9 billion

  • Nursing and Residential Care facilities: £7.9 billion

Service providers and health workers


Number of hospital beds/1000 inhabitants


Accomadation places available in homes for the elderly and nursing homes/ 1000 inhabitants


Number of doctors in the ambulatory sector/1000,000 inhabitants


Number of dentists/100,000 inhabitants


(2011 figures – provided by the Swiss Statistics Office)

Further statistics:

Key opportunities

  • Pharmaceutical products

  • Medical; devices

  • Rehabilitation sector

  • Preventive health, wellness and plastic surgery

  • World Health Organisation

Latest export opportunities in the Healthcare & Medical sector

Latest export opportunities in Switzerland

Getting into the market

Direct sales of pharmaceuticals from foreign companies are illegal in Switzerland. Only Swiss-based companies can obtain a licence from the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products, Swissmedic ( British companies must therefore enter the market by partnering with a local distributor or working with a Swiss manufacturer.

The recommended routes to market for medical products other than pharmaceuticals can vary, but most of the time a partnership with a local distributor is necessary. Switzerland is divided in 26 cantons and each canton is responsible for its healthcare system. Each canton purchases for its public hospitals via a cantonal buying central. It would be difficult for a British supplier to gain access to all these decision-makers without the expertise of a domestic distributor.

Local and international competition is very high with many high quality manufacturers already well established in the market. UK companies offering very innovative, well-priced products stand the best chances. Companies should not increase their domestic price for the Swiss market as they would be losing their competitive advantage.

More about doing business in Switzerland


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Eleanor Baha, British Embassy UKTI Geneva; Tel: +41 (0) 22 918 24 21; Email: [email protected]

  • Marie Gow, British Embassy UKTI Geneva; Tel: +41 (0) 22 918 24 78; Email: [email protected]

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events in the Life Sciences sector

Major Events

IFAS – Swiss Medical Trade Fair for Medical and Hospital Equipment

Lausanne: 30 October – 1 November 2013

Zurich: 21 – 24 October 2014


Vitafoods International

Date: 6-8 May 2014


Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Sectors: Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare & Medical
Countries: Switzerland
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