The Swiss Patent Office (the IGE) has information on its website in its three official working languages -- French, German and Italian -- as well as English. The page providing information on SPCs, last updated in June of this year, summarises the need for supplementary patent protection quite succinctly:
"Patented inventions for medicines (pharmaceuticals) and pesticides require federal approval before they can be put on the market (Swissmedic, BVet, BLW). Since it can take up to ten years to finally get federal approval, and the time limit of the patent protection is running, a supplementary certificate of protection can be requested".Curiously, the multilingual nature of the site is not maintained to a uniform standard. The form for requesting a Supplementary Protection Certificate is available only in German and French versions and a notice concerning changes in procedure is available only in German.