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Switzerland

‘Off Label Use’ Of Pharmaceuticals - A High Price For Medical Progress

Who foots the bill if a doctor decides on a treatment option that is not approved for the medical condition in question? Insurers say they’re under no obligation to pay, even if the treatment was effective. And if the doctor’s “off label” choice saves a p

A creative use of pills (e-MagineArt.com)
A creative use of pills (e-MagineArt.com)

ZURICHDoctors and researchers have expanded treatment options by developing even more medications and therapies. This wealth of alternatives, however, is also creating a growing – though often overlooked – problem: so-called "off label use."

Off label use is when doctors use treatment options that have not been officially approved for a particular malady, and are not on the list of pharmaceuticals insurance companies reimburse. Why would they do such a thing? Because sometimes the medications or therapies are effective, even life saving. But of course they're also expensive, since insurers are not obliged to cover off label treatment. Swiss law makes an exception if the off label approach is used in the context of life-threatening or severe chronic illnesses.

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 89: First Russian Found Guilty Of War Crimes, Gets Life In Prison

Vadim Shishimarin had confessed to shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

Vadim Shishimarin in court

Meike Eijsberg, Anna Akage and Emma Albright

On Monday, Vadim Shishimarin became the first Russian soldier to be convicted of war crimes since the Russian invasion three months ago, found guilty of shooting an unarmed 62-year-old man in northeast Ukraine shortly after the invasion began.

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Shishimarin, 21, who confessed to the shooting and asked the victim’s wife for forgiveness, was sentenced by a Kyiv court to life in prison.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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