Medications and prescriptions


Can I buy medicines from a Finnish pharmacy with a prescription issued abroad?

You can purchase medication with a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland from a Finnish pharmacy if the medication in question is licensed for sale in Finland. The prescription must include the details of the patient, the prescription’s date of issue, the details and signature of the prescriber and information about the medication. That said, not all medication can be bought with a prescription issued abroad. For example, medicines classified as narcotics can only be bought with a prescription issued by a doctor operating in Finland.

Prescriptions written outside the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland are not accepted in Finland.

Can I buy medicines from abroad with a Finnish prescription?

You can buy medicines from other EU or EEA countries either with a separate paper prescription or an electronic prescription. Currently, Finnish electronic prescriptions are accepted in Croatia and certain pharmacies in Estonia and Portugal. You can use electronic prescriptions in these countries provided that you give consent to disclose the prescription data to a pharmacy in another country in the My Kanta service.

You can also ask your doctor to provide you with a paper prescription for purchasing medication abroad. The restrictions on the use of prescriptions include, for example, medicines classified as narcotics that cannot be purchased with a prescription written in another country. A prescription issued in Finland will not be accepted outside the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland.

Is a Finnish electronic prescription valid abroad?

Currently, Finnish electronic prescriptions are accepted in Croatia and certain pharmacies in Estonia and Portugal. You can use electronic prescriptions in these countries provided that you give consent to disclose the prescription data to a pharmacy in another country in the My Kanta service.

The restrictions on the use of prescriptions include, for example, medicines classified as narcotics that cannot be purchased with a prescription written in another country.

What is a “medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad”?

A medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad is a paper prescription that allows you to buy medicines in another EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. You cannot print the prescription yourself from, for example, the My Kanta service, but a doctor can provide you with a printout. Also, you cannot use a prescription intended to be used abroad in Finland.

How long is a prescription written abroad valid for?

When you buy medication in another EU country, the validity of the prescription is determined based on where the medicine is purchased. In Finland, a prescription is usually valid for two years. You can ask the destination country’s Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare how long the prescriptions are valid in that country.

How can I get medication if I get sick or run out of medication when travelling?

If you have a prescription written in Finland to buy medication abroad, you can use it in the EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. If you do not have a suitable prescription with you, you can request a prescription from a local doctor. If you are travelling in the EU and EEA countries, Switzerland or the United Kingdom, you will get medication at the same price as local residents by presenting your European Health Insurance Card.

You can also get reimbursement for prescription medication: depending on the country, you can get the medicines directly at the local price by presenting the European Health Insurance Card at the pharmacy, or you can apply for reimbursement for medicine expenses from Kela or the local health insurance institution afterwards.

Outside the EU, you usually need a prescription from a local doctor to purchase prescription medicines.

Can I take medicines with me when I travel abroad for a longer period of time?

Find out in advance from the customs authorities of the destination country (and any transit countries) whether there are restrictions on the import of medicines in that country. In Finland, you can usually buy medication for three months of treatment from a pharmacy. Take along a summary of your prescriptions and keep the medicines in hand luggage in their original packaging. If you travel in the Schengen area carrying narcotic drugs or drugs that affect the central nervous system, you need a Schengen certificate. You can get the certificate at a pharmacy.

Can I buy any prescription medicines abroad?

The purchase of prescription medicines abroad involves some restrictions. For example, you cannot buy narcotics or psychotropic medicines. For a full list of restrictions, visit the Kanta.fi website.

Why did the pharmacy refuse to sell me prescription medicine with a prescription written in another EU country?

The use of prescriptions involves some restrictions. For example, you will need a prescription written by a local doctor for narcotic or psychotropic medicines. A pharmacy may also refuse to accept a prescription if there is doubt about its authenticity.

Where can I get information on the availability and prices of medicines in Finland?

You can obtain information on the prices of medicines, clinical nutritional preparations and emollient creams sold in Finland from Kela's Medicinal Products Database. The service also provides information on the reimbursability of medicines and interchangeable medicines. The service is available in Finnish, Swedish and English.

You can check the availability of medicine at a particular pharmacy via the Lääkehaku online service at apteekki.fi (in Finnish). You can also ask about the availability of the medicine directly from the pharmacy where you would like to buy it.

Can I get Kela reimbursement for medicines purchased abroad?

Yes, if a corresponding medicine is eligible for reimbursement in Finland. You can receive Kela reimbursement for the cost of prescription medicines if you suddenly fall ill or your medicines run out during a trip, for example.

You can also apply for Kela reimbursement if you travel to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland to buy prescription medicines.

Kela does not reimburse medicines purchased from abroad over the Internet or by mail.