Council of Europe

In the field of health, the Council of Europe plays a crucial role as a depositary of international treaties. In addition, for Switzerland, it provides a valuable forum for the sharing of expertise.

Political background and mission

Founded after the Second World War in order to guarantee peace and stability in Europe, the Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organisation with 46 member states at present, including the member states of the European Union. Its activities are focused on promoting human rights, democracy and the rule of law. A large number of international treaties and agreements have been drawn up under the auspices of the Council of Europe. One of the most important of these is the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). To date, Switzerland has ratified more than half of the Council of Europe’s 200-plus treaties.

Health-related conventions signed/ratified by Switzerland

The Council of Europe has elaborated a number of conventions and issued various recommendations in the field of health. The conventions signed and ratified by Switzerland include:

  • Protocol to the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia, 16/11/1989, ETS No. 134;
  • Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine: Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, 04/04/1997, ETS No. 164;
  • Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning Transplantation of Organs and Tissues of Human Origin, 24/01/2002, ETS No. 186;
  • Council of Europe Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health, 28/10/2011, CETS No.°211
  • Council of Europe Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs, 25/03/2015, CETS No.°216.

Switzerland’s contribution to the Council of Europe

Switzerland contributes its expertise to the work of various Council of Europe committees, engaging in regular discussions with other member states.


  • follows the activities of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines & HealthCare (EDQM);
  • contributes to work on the European Pharmacopoeia by providing experts for several of the 70 technical committees;
  • is involved in the activities of the Steering Committee for Human Rights in the fields of Biomedicine and Health (CDBIO);
  • is represented on the Council of Europe’s Pompidou Group, which is concerned with drug and addiction policy. This platform provides Switzerland with an opportunity to discuss questions of drug and addiction policy with other countries.


Last modification 26.09.2023

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