Federal auditors slam lack of control over Covid test invoices

Not every invoice sent to health insurers was backed by a valid coronavirus test. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

The Federal Audit Office has found gaps in controls of a free coronavirus testing system that contributed to an estimated CHF20 million ($21.5 million) in fraudulent invoicing.

This content was published on December 22, 2022 - 16:24

Some 23 million free PCR and antigen tests have been carried out in Switzerland since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020.

But it is widely believed that the system was scammed by fraudsters who worked with some doctors and testing centres to send out batches of fake bills to health insurers.

On Thursday, auditors said they had found two main weaknesses with the free testing system that helped fraud go undetected.

Firstly, health insurers did not send statements to all people who were tested, which made it harder to tell real tests from fakes.

Secondly, invoice reference numbers did not indicate which canton particular tests had been carried out. This makes it more difficult to trace the relevant testing centre.

Investigators have a five-year window to track down fraudsters and have so far only recovered CHF6,000, Swiss public broadcaster SRF reports.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has identified 30 possible cases of serious fraud. Some 15 FOPH staff are trying to recover funds along with external consultants.

Free Covid-19 testing will come to an end in Switzerland from January 1, 2023.

Articles in this story

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Almost finished... We need to confirm your email address. To complete the subscription process, please click the link in the email we just sent you.

Discover our weekly must-reads for free!

Sign up to get our top stories straight into your mailbox.

The SBC Privacy Policy provides additional information on how your data is processed.