0844 277 277 Mon-Fri 8am-6pm
CSS Insurance


Generics are medicines which are identical to the original preparations with respect to the active ingredient, dosage and form of administration (e.g. tablet or syrup) and which may thus substitute for the original on expiry of the 15-year patent protection. Generics usually cost much less than original drugs.

Deciding between the generic medicine and the original preparation

If the original preparation is not strictly required for medical purposes, your pharmacist will be able to offer you a generic form of the medication instead, which is usually less expensive.

Retention fee

Since 1 July 2011 new rules decided by the Federal Council have been in place, which stipulate an increased retention fee of 20% for certain medicine based on the list (in German) maintained by the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG). This may be either a generic medicine or an original preparation.

A 20% retention fee applies to medication (both original preparations and generics) it its price exceeds the average price of the cheapest one-third of all medicines with the same active ingredient by at least 10%.

The higher retention fee will not be charged if an original preparation is crucial for medical reasons. In such situations, CSS requires a medical certificate from the attending doctor.

Because prices changes regularly we recommend that you find out about the current retention fee each time you collect your prescription medication from your doctor or pharmacist.