FoIA – More information

Federal law on the principle of freedom of information in government ("Freedom of Information Act")

The Federal Law on Transparency in Administration (BGÖ) and the corresponding Ordinance (VBGÖ) came into effect on 1 July 2006. The new law foresees a move from the principle of secrecy to one of public accessibility, and applies to documents concerning the Swiss Federal Administration and to decentralised administrative entities such as Swissmedic. The Act guarantees every individual the general right of access to official documents. It applies to documents relating to public functions and that were drawn up or received by Swissmedic after 1 July 2006.

An application need not be justified, although the applicant should provide sufficient information regarding the document required in order for the officials to locate it. For this reason, please include all elements known to you regarding the document in question. Some possible key words can be found below:

  • Sector (e.g. human medicines, veterinary medicines, medical devices, etc.)
  • Area (e.g. authorisation, market surveillance, vigilance, publicity, clinical trials, laboratory, etc.)
  • Subject (e.g. side effects in the patient information or information regarding the Internet, etc.)
  • Key word (e.g. medicine XYZ or regulations concerning the purchase of medicine via the Internet by individuals, etc.)
  • Approximate date (e.g. around 2004, latest update, etc.)

The right of access to official documents may be restricted or refused in order to protect greater public or private interests. The relevant restrictions are contained in Articles 7-9 of the Freedom of Information Act.