27.11.2023 - During the coronavirus pandemic, several applications for access to contracts for COVID-19 vaccines were submitted to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). After the FOPH had published partly redacted contracts, the FDPIC received ten requests for mediation. In his six recommendations, the FDPIC concludes that access should be granted to a large extend. This concludes the proceedings involving the FDPIC.
24.11.2023 - Freedom of Information Act: FDPIC publishes six recommendations on contracts for COVID vaccines
Freedom of Information Act: FDPIC publishes six recommendations on contracts for COVID vaccines
Between the years 2020 and 2022, several people applied under the Freedom of Information Act for access to the federal procurement contracts for COVID-19 vaccines to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Procurement contracts were concluded with six different companies. In total, the documents comprise 27 agreements and contracts. The FOPH deferred access to the requested documents, which the Federal Administrative Court held was justified until at least 30 June 2022 (Judgment A-3858/2021 of 21 April 2022).
On 3 August 2022, the FOPH published, in agreement with the companies, 27 partly redacted contracts for COVID-19 vaccines on its website (Procurement contracts for COVID-19 vaccines), informed the applicants of the publication and pointed out the option of filing a request for mediation with the FDPIC. As a result, the FDPIC received ten requests for mediation from applicants.
In the mediation proceedings, which were conducted in writing, the FDPIC concluded that the grounds for an exception put forward by the FOPH and the companies (business secrets as well as Switzerland's foreign policy interests and international relations) were not presented with the level of justification required by case law. The FDPIC therefore recommends that the FOPH grant access to the requested documents, taking into account the current status of authorisation of vaccines by Swissmedic, as individual companies have in the meantime withdrawn or revoked their applications for authorisation (Current status of authorisations for combating COVID-19).
If the companies concerned and the requestees for mediation do not agree with the recommendations, they may request a ruling from the FOPH. The FOPH may also issue a ruling ex officio.
Last modification 11.12.2023