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Research magazine Horizons



Unlimited access to the Cochrane Library within Switzerland

A newly signed national licence offers free access to the Cochrane Library to all residents in Switzerland. Swiss patients and health care practitioners will now have access to over 6500 published systematic reviews in healthcare interventions.

Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. The organization gathers and summarizes the best evidence from research to help make informed choices about treatment.

The establishment of the licence has been made possible thanks to the initiative and financial contributions by the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, complemented by the Federal Office of Public Health and several other institutions.

Click here to visit the Cochrane Library. 
Click here to learn more about Cochrane Switzerland. 


Revised guidelines: Coercive measures in medicine

The SAMS has revised the medical-ethical guidelines «Coercive measures in medicine». The revision took into account the changes in the legal framework resulting from the new child and adult protection law which came into effect on 1 January 2013.

These guidelines are designed to promote and maintain awareness of the fact that coercive measures of any kind represent a serious infringement of fundamental personal rights and thus require ethical justification in each case.

Download the guidelines in English: Coercive measures in medicine (PDF 2.4 MB)

Printed copies (in German or French) can be requested from the SAMS by e-mail:


Five projects benefit from the funding programme «Research in Palliative Care»

In 2015, five projects benefit from the funding programme «Research in Palliative Care». The Board of the Stanely Thomas Johnson Foundation and the Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Stiftung complied with the recommendations by the Expert Committee and decided to pay the total of approx. 660'000 Swiss francs.

The next call for applications is scheduled in spring 2016 by the closing date of the first of June 2016.

Download: Projects funded by the programme «Research in Palliative Care» 2014 - 2015.

Link: Learn more about the funding programme’s goals and regulations.


New manual «Research with human subjects»

The SAMS has revised the manual «Research with human subjects». The revision particularly took into account the changes in the legal framework resulting from the new Human Research Act, which came into effect on 1 January 2014.

The manual offers concrete assistance for the planning, conduct and assessment of research projects with human subjects. It provides an overview of the principles of research and the legal framework. In addition, the numerous ethical questions are discussed which arise when working with people and their personal data.

The revised manual is not only addressed to researchers and to members of research ethics committees, but also to medical professionals from all disciplines, to regulatory authorities, policymakers, media representatives and the public.

Printed copies (in German or French) can be requested from the SAMS by e-mail:

Download the manual in English: Research with human subjects. PDF

19.11.2014  | Ethics

Study «Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide» published

In a study carried out on behalf of the SAMS, the attitudes of the Swiss medical profession to physician-assisted suicide have been investigated for the first time. Three-quarters of the physicians who took part in the study consider assisted suicide to be acceptable in principle.

Somewhat less than half of the respondents can imagine situations where they would personally be prepared to perform it. Over a quarter tolerate physician-assisted suicide but would not participate themselves.
The study involved a random sample of Swiss physicians. However, given the response rate, the results cannot be generalized to the medical profession as a whole; rather, they may reflect the views of physicians with a particular interest in this issue.

Study »Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide» PDF (only available in German)

SAMS study «Physicians’ attitudes to assisted suicide»: Summary of results and response of the Central Ethics Committee PDF

Media release PDF

18.08.2014  | Position paper

Promoting open access to research results

The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) advocates close links between clinical practice and medical science and dialogue with society.

Accordingly, it supports the implementation of open access. The SAMS takes the view that open access to research results is the best way of ensuring and improving the availability of information for researchers, healthcare professionals, patients and the general public. In view of the latest global developments in open access described in this position paper, the SAMS calls on publishers and scientific actors to facilitate and expedite the transition to open access, in order to maximize the benefits of medical research for society.

A German and a French version of the publication can be ordered at the SAMS; PDFs (in all three languages) can be downloaded under


An appeal for an open European higher education area

Students, researchers and scientists are kindly invited to sign an online petition that is supported by the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences.

Switzerland’s affiliation with the European higher education area is threatened in consequence of the yes-vote on the federal popular initiative «mass immigration» from 9 February 2014. In its initial reaction, the European Commission has excluded Switzerland from the 8th EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 and from the student exchange programme Erasmus+. The signers of this appeal call upon decision-makers in Europe and Switzerland to enable Switzerland’s participation in these important programmes, and voice their commitment to an open European and international higher education area.

Webpage with the online petition:


Immigration policy: manifesto open science location Switzerland

Switzerland's openness towards the world is decisive for many aspects of the country's development, but it is particularly important for intellectual and academic life, for research and innovation.

The forthcoming votes on the immigration policy will undoubtedly be perceived as test for this openness. Against this background, the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences, together with the other scentific and academic actors, affirm the necessity for a free exchange of knowledge and people with the surrounding countries. With this in mind, these actors have published a manifesto available at:

Manifesto for an open education and research location Switzerland (pdf: German; French)

13.03.2013  | Report of the Swiss Medical Board

Transferability of a HTA-Report prepared by IQWiG into Swiss context – an analysis based on the examble of the use of Ezetimib for the treatment of hypercholesterolaemia

The Swiss Medical Board aimed to present the style of work and methodology of the The German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in comparison to their own work with regards to possible synergy effects. 

The report points out that the reports by the IQWiG can be used as a basis for the preparation of the «Medical Effects» section in the reports by the Swiss Medical Board, when certain preconditions are fulfilled. The section on costs, cost effectiveness, ethical and legal considerations, and the overall assessment and recommendations require additional attention.

Media release of the Swiss Medical Board (in German) PDF

Summary of the report (in English) PDF

Report (in German) PDF

Website of the Swiss Medical Board

5.03.2013  | Newsletter

SAMS Bulletin 1/2013 published

New and sustainable structures for academic medicine in Switzerland

The SAMS Bulletin is available in German and French

17.07.2012  | Research promotion

The SAMS calls for entries in the field of Neurosciences and Health Services Research

Call for Entries: Théodore-Ott- and Robert-Bing-Prize 2012 in Neurosciences and Health Services Research funding programme

The Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences announces the Théodore-Ott-Prize 2012 in the field of Neurosciences (award for an outstanding scientific life's work) and the Robert-Bing-Prize 2012 to reward young researchers in the field of Neuosciences. Deadline for application submission is August 31, 2012.

In addition, the second call for the new funding programme in Health Services Research is launched. Deadline for submission is September 1, 2012. New: the requests must be submitted to the SAMS (electronically to

Further information is available on the individual websites that can be entered via

29.03.2012  | Publication of the swiss-academies

Benefits and value of medical interventions

«Methods of assessing the benefits and value of medical interventions»: This study was done on behalf of the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences by PD Dr Matthias Schwenkglenk and Dr Florian Gutzwiller from the Institute of Pharmaceutical Medicine at the University of Basel.

The study describes the methods for evaluating medical interventions and their application in different countries along with their advantages and disadvantages. It summarises the possible value of such methods for application in Switzerland. The study was presented on 29 March 2012 during a public conference in Berne.

Further information and download of the study

14.03.2012  | Position paper of the Central Ethical Committee

Problems with physician-assisted suicide

In single cases, there have been unacceptable realisations of physician-assisted suicide. A global societal discussion on assisted suicide is indispensable.

29.02.2012  | Press release

Physicians are allowed to refuse attending deportations

Position paper of the SAMS: Under circumstances in which medical treatment or diagnosis is impaired, physicians are obliged to refuse providing medical attendance during deportations.

Press release (in German) PDF

Position paper (in German) PDF

1.12.2011  | Press release

«Health Services Research» funding programme launched by the Bangerter-Stiftung and the SAMS

The Gottfried and Julia Bangerter-Rhyner-Stiftung (Bangerter-Stiftung) and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS) are jointly launching a «Health Services Research» funding programme.

Health services research seeks to bridge the gap between biomedical/clinical research on the one hand and medical interventions performed under everyday conditions on the other; the subject of this field of research is, as it were, the «last mile» to the patient. Health services research is becoming increasingly important at the international level. With the aid of this funding programme, the Bangerter-Stiftung and the SAMS hope that health services research will also become more widely established in Switzerland.

To this end, the Bangerter-Stiftung is making available around CHF 1 million per year for the period 2012–2016.

Media release PDF

Further information on the programme

8.11.2011  | Publication

Genetics in daily medical practice: new edition of the manual for general practice

The SAMS published a new edition of the manual «Genetics in daily medical practice»

The manual is available in German and French.


Change of Management at the Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation (SCTO)

In 2009, the «Swiss Clinical Trial Organisation» was founded on the initiative of the Swiss National Science Foundation and the SAMS.

The SCTO is the umbrella organisation of clinical research in Switzerland. The first Managing Director of the SCTO, Dr Claudia Weiss, has resigned her post by the end of October 2011 in order to take up new career challenges.

As her successor, the SCTO Steering Board has appointed pharmacist and experienced leadership personality Mrs Annette Magnin. Holding a leading role within a contract research organisation over many years, Mrs Magnin has gained profound knowledge of operative clinical research and training of clinical professionals. Besides, she is active in various functional and political committees. Mrs Annette Magnin is married and mother of a 11 year old daughter. She is expected to start in her new role by February 1st, 2012. In the meantime, Dr Katrin Crameri, Head of Department Science and Research at the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS), is taking over the executive duties of the SCTO.

Further information concerning the SCTO is available under


Pre-implementation Genetic Diagnosis: The Academies consider the law draft a step in the right direction

The swiss-academies welcome the repeal of the ban on Pre-implementation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which the amendment of the Reproductive Medicine Act, presented in June 2011, foresees.

There are considerable improvements identifiable versus the first draft in 2009. Moreover, the proposed amendment of Article 119 of the Federal Constitution is significant; the relevant framework conditions to implement PGD in Switzerland are thereby accomplished.

Press release (in German) PDF
Position statement (in German) PDF

6.06.2011  | Press release

New «Advance directive» of the FMH and the SAMS

The «FMH/SAMS advance directive» is issued jointly by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) and the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences (SAMS).

Further information

The press release is available in German or French.

1.07.2011  | Press release

Prof. Peter Meier-Abt is the new president of the SAMS

On 24 May 2011, the SAMS-Senate elected Prof. Peter Meier-Abt new president of the medical academy. He will assume his new position on 1st July 2011.

The press release is available in German and French.

7.04.2011  | Press release

EASAC report on the occasion of the World Health Day 2011

The World Health Day is celebrated every year on 7 April, under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), remembering its foundation in 1948. In the year 2011, theme of the World Health Day is «Antimicrobial resistance: no action today no cure tomorrow».

The European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) have recently published a report on this topic: «European public health and innovation policy for infectious disease - the view from EASAC».

The EASAC is an umbrella organisation of the scietific academies in Europe; the Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences are also a member of the EASAC.

The report and the corresponding press release can be downloaded here:

Press release PDF (90 KB)

Report PDF (553 KB)


7.03.2011  | Biomedical Ethics

Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation:
Medical-ethical guidelines and recommendations

The guidelines «Decisions on cardiopulmonary resuscitation» were elaborated in 2008 and are now available in English.

17.11.2010  | Press release

New position paper of the Ethics Committee for Animal Experimentation: The dignity of animals and the evaluation of interests in the Swiss Animal Protection Act

The fact that the concept of dignity is enshrined in the Swiss Federal Constitution implies that animals are to merit moral consideration for their own sake.

The purpose of the Swiss Animal Protection Act of 16 December 2005 is to protect not just the welfare but also the dignity of animals.

Press release (only available in german or french)

Position paper (english version) PDF
Position paper (german version) PDF
Position paper (french version) PDF


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