Council of Europe

The Council of Europe plays a crucial role in the field of health in its capacity as depositary of conventions between different States. It additionally provides Switzerland with a key platform for sharing expertise.

Political context and mission

Founded after the Second World War in order to guarantee peace and stability in Europe, the Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organization with 47 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 is the European Convention on Human Rights ECHR. Up until now, Switzerland has ratified more than half of the Council of Europe's 200 or so conventions.

Conventions relating to health signed or 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:

  • the Convention on the Elaboration of a European Pharmacopoeia of 16/11/1989, STE n°134;
  • the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Dignity of the Human Being with regard to the Application of Biology and Medicine : the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine of 04/04/1997, STE n°164;
  • the Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine concerning Transplantation of Organs and Tissues of Human Origin of 24/01/2002, STE n°186.

Switzerland has also signed, but not yet ratified, the following conventions :

  • the Convention on the Counterfeiting of Medical Products and Similar Crimes endangering public health (Medicrime) of 28/10/2011, STE n°211;
  • the Convention against Trafficking in Human Organs of 25/03/2015 STE n°216.

Switzerland's contribution in the field of health

Switzerland's contribution essentially takes the form of expertise, which it shares with other Member States within the bodies of the Council of Europe. Switzerland:

  • is actively following the health activities of the European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and Healthcare EDQM;
  • is participating in the work for the European Pharmacopoeia by supplying experts to more than 70 specialized committees;
  • is involved in the work of the Committee on Bioethics DH-Bio;

is represented on the Pompidou Group. This platform provides Switzerland with an opportunity to discuss drug policy issues with other States. 

Last modification 19.07.2018

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