Switzerland has one of the most highly-developed systems of democracy in the world. But the influence of pressure groups on political life is hardly regulated and politicians are concerned that private business is getting too close with parliament. This relation between lobbies and politics can be justified by the fact that many of the members seating in the Swiss parliament are part-time politicians, who the rest of the time hold regular jobs related with private industry beside their political activity, supporting the interests of companies they work for or where they sit on corporate boards. The influence of lobbies in the Swiss political system is particularly evident in the field of Health, once almost all members of the health committees in both chambers¹ are linked to health insurers or pharmaceutical companies. However, a certain number also work for unions or other associations (hospitals, medical associations or patient groups), providing a counterweight to business interests. Furthermore, the pharma industry, which has been present in Switzerland for almost 150 years, according to Swiss reports² , represented almost 40% of the total value of all Swiss exports in the year of 2016. If combined with the chemicals industry, together they are responsible for almost half of Switzerland exportations, which means that the country is therefore increasingly dependent on multinationals like Novartis, Roche and Merck Serono, their industrial activities and the jobs they provide. The divergent interests represented in parliament have blocked reforms of the health insurance system for years, while health insurance premiums go up annually. The price of these close ties between some parliamentarians and business lobbies could be the large sections of the population whose interests are underrepresented - consumers, insurance holders or patients. In a near future, in which DIY medicine can take a bigger place in our lives by giving us back the control of our health and changing the relation with our own body, the weight and power of the Pharma Lobby can be slowed down and distributed to the citizens. If from one side it can set the politic free of the influence of powerful industries, from another side it can also give us the freedom of deciding of what works the best for each one without having the pressure of taking drugs imposed by big Pharma groups or even give to all access to medication.
¹The Swiss parliament is made up of two chambers: The House of Representatives with 200 seats, and the Senate representing the cantons, with 46 seats. ²https://www.eda.admin.ch/aboutswitzerland/en/home/wirtschaft/taetigkeitsgebiete/chemie-und-pharma.html