The drug law serves the protection of public health in particular by high requirements on the duty of care concerning the handling of medicaments and medicinal products by the pharmaceutical industry, pharmacists and physicians. This concerns above all the production, placing on the market, control, prescription, information and delivery of medicaments. The Swiss Federal law on medicaments and medicinal products (Federal drug act, HMG) is in force since 1 January 2002.

Legal questions in particular concern the way and the protection of a medicament from research to authorisation. In addition, the conditions for its placing on the national, European, and international market at a later date must be fulfilled. Whether a medicine is pharmacy only medicine, prescription only medicine or over the counter medicine, depends on many different criteria.