The quarterly newsletter of scienceindustries, the Swiss Business Association Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences, keeps you informed about current economic and social issues.
Termination initiative
Interview with Christoph Franz, Roche Chairman                
only available in German

Cost-reduction package I
Interview with Etienne Jornod, Honorary Chairman of Galenica and Vifor
only available in German


Termination initiative: countering the crisis with an open national economy

Responsible Business Initiative RBI comes to the vote

CO2 law: target agreement system must remain flexible

Council of States allocates more funds to education, research and innovation

FADP revision delayed until the autumn session

Pharma: cooperation payments disclosed for the fifth time

Industrial tariffs: pushing forward with administrative relief for the business sector

The new law on explosives precursors cannot prevent attacks

Yes to reducing the risks of using plant protection products – with innovations instead of prohibitions

Innovation in plant protection should reach Switzerland recorded high visitor numbers in spring 2020

Survey on the new website: We value your opinion!
Termination initiative

Countering the crisis with an open national economy

The Federal Government’s Expert Group confirmed their previous assessment of economic performance and expects the sharpest fall in GDP in decades for 2020. To allow our export-dependent industries to benefit from a revival of the sales markets, the bilateral approach has to be continued.

          For 2020, the Federal Government's Expert Group for economic forecasts expects GDP to decline by −6.2 % and average unemployment to rise to 3.8%. This would be the biggest economic downturn since 1975. International economic activity will likely only recover slowly and important trade partners of Switzerland will have to cope with the prolonged consequences of the corona crisis. This will also affect the immediate trading environment of our export-dependent industries.

          It would be a fatal mistake for Switzerland to introduce additional hurdles in these difficult times by breaking off important bilateral relationships with the EU. Participation in the internal market and the preservation of the free movement of persons are now more important than ever. scienceindustries is therefore campaigning with all its might for the continuation of the bilateral approach and the expansion of free trade agreements beyond Europe, which is why we vehemently reject the termination initiative coming to the vote on 27 September 2020.
Responsible Business Initiative

Responsible Business Initiative RBI comes to the vote

After many discussions, parliament finally approved the proposal submitted by the conciliation committee. This proposal introduces reporting obligations and additional due diligence obligations for conflict minerals and child labour. If the RBI is rejected by the voters, Switzerland would therefore introduce strict regulations that cannot be interpreted as a “compromise proposal”.

          The parliamentary controversy concerned the extent to which corporations should be liable for violations of environmental law and human rights provisions in foreign countries. The National Council wanted to expand the current liability provisions, while the Council of States wanted to maintain the status quo. The latter's concept introduces reporting obligations for certain companies. Companies also have to meet additional due diligence obligations for conflict minerals and child labour. The conciliation committee has now adopted this concept, together with the fines catalogue: corporations who in spite of these obligations deliberately fail to submit their report or make untrue statements are liable to a fine of up to CHF 100,000, and up to CHF 50,000 in the case of negligence.

          scienceindustries rejected the RBI from the outset and supported the political process underpinning the counterproposal of the Council of States. While the National Council's counterproposal would in large part have implemented the very damaging RBI, the counterproposal submitted by the Council of States is an internationally supported but still very strict solution. The referendum about the RBI is scheduled for 29 November 2020.
Climate policy

Target agreement system must remain flexible

The CO2 law was finally discussed by the National Council during the summer session. The draft law will be returned to the Council of States for the reconciliation process during the autumn session. At the same time, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy invited bids for the post-2020 target agreements.

          scienceindustries welcomes the opening of the target agreement system approved by the National Council: the economy’s available savings potential can be better exploited without a minimum threshold. If the domestic reduction target is increased, well-functioning systems for the enforcement of reduction obligations will become even more important.

          The organisations tasked with the implementation of these systems (Energy Agency of the Swiss Private Sector and act Cleantech Agentur Schweiz) have consistently expanded their offers and geared them to the needs of the business sector during their long-standing activity. The intention is now to invite modular bids for a previous integral service so that previously non-existent and numberless interfaces will be created. The working processes of these implementing organisations will also become much less flexible.

          We are therefore very concerned about the paradigm change in the invitation for bids for the next period of the CO2 law, as this will lead to the nationalisation and bureaucratisation of this instrument of climate policy. scienceindustries regrets the changes regarding the target agreements which will permanently change the rules for this important element of the CO2 law. We are campaigning at various levels for an improvement.
More (only available in German)
2021-2024 ERI Dispatch

Council of States allocates more funds to education, research and innovation

During the summer session, the Council of States decided about the federal government’s investments in education, research and innovation for the next four years. Encouragingly, it approved increases of CHF 188 million in the funding of various aspects of the 2021-2024 ERI Dispatch, bringing total investments to some CHF 28 billion.

          During the debate on the Dispatch on the Promotion of Education, Research and Innovation (ERI) for the years 2021 to 2024 (2021-2024 ERI Dispatch), the Council of States approved an investment framework of around CHF 28 billion for the Swiss centre of knowledge. scienceindustries campaigned for targeted funding increases of CHF 188 million in total, in deviation of the draft submitted by the Federal Council. A majority of parliamentarians also voted in favour of cancelling the credit freeze proposed by the Federal Council, which would have led to the freezing of CHF 312 million. By stopping this credit freeze, the Council of States wants to improve planning security for ERI role players. The Federal Council intended keeping these funds back until the final cost of Switzerland’s participation in the EU's research programmes have been determined. The National Council will debate the 2021-2024 ERI Dispatch during the autumn session.
FADP revision

FADP revision delayed until the autumn session

The Council of States continued but did not finalise the reconciliation debate on 2 June 2020. As the three remaining differences also impact our sectors, scienceindustries will participate in the following consultations.

          The National Council's Political Institutions Committee (PIC-N) will again discuss the FADP revision on 2 and 3 July. The remaining differences concern the specification of genetic data (Art. 4 para. 3); the provisions on profiling (Art. 4 lit. fbis); and the period during which data may be used for credit checks (Art. 27 para. 2 lit. c para. 3).

          During the debate, the Council of States proposed an impractical solution for the Swiss business sector regarding the differentiation between profiling and high-risk profiling. The Council of States wanted to introduce more stringent provisions for this second definition. scienceindustries will continue to campaign for a definition of profiling that is acceptable to the business sector and continues to reject the proposal of the Council of States. A Swiss finish has to be prevented.
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Pharma Cooperation Code

Cooperation payments are disclosed for the fifth time

Once again, some 60 pharmaceutical companies active in Switzerland disclosed the benefits paid for advisory and other services to healthcare providers on their websites by 30 June 2020. Such transparency is intended to promote confidence in this important form of cooperation.

          The exchange between pharmaceutical companies and doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, research institutions and patient organisations is crucial in researching and developing new medicines and therapies. Therapies can only be developed, tested and improved as part of an ongoing exchange of experiences. The current research into a vaccine and improved methods of diagnosis for the Covid-19 disease highlight the importance of these cooperation programmes.

          These diverse activities by healthcare providers deserve to be suitably compensated. To make these relationships transparent to the public, scienceindustries in 2013 adopted the Pharma Cooperation Code (PCC), which was signed by some 60 pharmaceutical companies. The PCC requires pharmaceutical companies to contractually regulate their cooperation with healthcare professionals and organisations.

          The pharmaceutical companies publish the details of the compensation paid for such services on their websites every year. This initiative aims to further strengthen the trust placed in the healthcare and research sectors.
Abolition of industrial tariffs

Pushing forward with administrative relief for the business sector

By saying no to the abolition of tariffs on industrial goods, the National Council opposed attempts to provide administrative and financial relief for Swiss consumers and companies.

          scienceindustries is very sorry that the National Council used sometimes flimsy arguments to speak out against urgently needed financial and administrative relief for Swiss consumers and companies. It missed an opportunity during a challenging time to independently improve the economic and political environment for Swiss companies with such a simple and proven instrument as the abolition of industrial tariffs. In doing so, it unfortunately also rejected a welfare gain of CHF 860 million per year.

          In the long term, the abolition of industrial tariffs would have strengthened the competitiveness of Switzerland as an export nation and taken a stand against increasing protectionism. At the same time, it would have allowed companies to be more competitive on the Swiss market.
More (only available in German)
Law on explosives precursors

The new law on explosives precursors cannot prevent attacks

The ordinance on explosives precursors that has been in force in the EU since 2014 did not manage to prevent attacks in European cities. scienceindustries prefers measures to raise awareness about the handling of such substances and the amendment of the law on explosives.

          As the explanatory report shows, Regulation (EU) No. 98/2013 which has been inconsistently implemented in the EU member states since 2014 could not prevent the attacks in Paris (November 2015), Brussels (March 2016), Ansbach (July 2016), St. Petersburg (April 2017), Manchester (May 2017) and Brussels again in June 2017. Other events between 2017 and 2019 (Spain, Belgium and Germany) were prevented thanks to good police work, but without any connection to Regulation 98/2013.

          The concentration of a few chemicals in specific quantities would create a false sense of security. In our view, preventive measures in the gathering of intelligence (including cooperation with neighbouring and friendly states), increased local police involvement if necessary and awareness-raising measures like those already initiated by fedpol provide the basis for a catalogue of measures which, when consistently implemented, would be better suited to preventing or at least reducing the probability of attacks in Switzerland. No new federal law has to be drafted to enable awareness-raising measures as these were already realised successfully in pilot projects in 2017.

          scienceindustries therefore regrets the decision of the Council of States of 18 June 2020 to discuss the law on explosives precursors. scienceindustries expects the Federal Council to keep its promise not to adopt the EU’s expansion of the regulation to include professional users.
More (only available in German)
Plant protection products

Yes to reducing the risks of using plant protection products - with innovations instead of prohibitions

scienceindustries supports the efforts of the Council of States Committee for Economic Affairs and Taxation (WAK-S) to introduce practical measures to reduce the risks associated with the use of plant protection products and biocides. However, these measures must be commensurate and consistently based on scientific arguments.

          Plant protection products and biocides contribute substantially towards ensuring the availability of a varied selection of fresh and healthy foods in our shops. Our industry is committed to research and innovation, nature-friendliness and sustainability. A real and sustainable reduction of the risks can be achieved by using more modern ingredients and improved application technologies and by providing training and specialist advice for users. This is the only way to reduce the risks posed by these products without giving up the protection of our health and the enjoyment of regional foodstuffs.
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Plant protection products

Innovation in plant protection should reach Switzerland

Innovations have to find their way onto the market quickly in order to have a positive impact on society. This also holds true for plant protection products as new products are usually safer and more effective. To this end a science-based approval process with clearly defined deadlines and innovation-friendly framework conditions is needed.

          In the context of the 2020 agricultural package, the Federal Council is proposing adopting the EU’s assessment of the active substances of plant protection products when revoking approvals rather than carrying out its own assessment. The deadlines for bringing inventory stocks to market and the use-by dates for such products should also be harmonised with the EU's regulations.

          scienceindustries agrees to the adoption of the EU's assessment when revoking approvals for the active ingredients of plant protection products. However, this sensible harmonisation of the Swiss and EU processes should apply to the entire approval process.
More (only available in German) recorded high visitor numbers in spring 2020

On its website, the SimplyScience Foundation, a scienceindustries initiative offers a wide range of information about natural sciences and technology. This website was exceedingly popular during the time of lockdown and closed schools.

          The website offers many ideas for activities and experiments at home, and was therefore a valuable source of materials for children, young people, teachers and parents during the period of remote teaching at Swiss schools. During the three-month period from the beginning of March to the end of May 2020, the website registered 50% more visits than for the same period last year.

          The “Experiments” topic was of particular interest, but background articles such as “What is a virus?” were also called up more often than the average. More than 6,500 PDF documents were downloaded, most of them instructions for carrying out simple scientific experiments.
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Survey on the new website

Your opinion counts!

Since one month our new website is online. With our website and the Membernet – which is exclusively available to our members – we want to communicate the central issues of our industries Chemistry Pharma Life Sciences in a versatile and transparent way.

          To enable us to tailor our website and the Membernet even better to your needs, we would like to ask for your feedback. We invite you to participate in our short survey. Answering the 5 questions will only take about 2 minutes. Thank you for your time.
          scienceindustries is the Swiss business association for the chemical, pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. Its around 250 member companies generate more than 98% of their revenues abroad. As Switzerland's biggest export industry, this sector contributes 47% to total exports and almost 40% to private research expenses in Switzerland

Stephan Mumenthaler, Director
Marcel Sennhauser, Deputy Director - Head Communication & Public Affairs
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