Medicines when travelling
Are you going on a trip? Are you going to buy prescription medicine with a prescription written in another country or carry medicines with you? This page contains general information, tips and links related to travel and medicines.
Before the trip
Get prescriptions and other documents for your medicines
Find out if there are any import restrictions for medicines
Pack your medication carefully for the trip
Things to remember
- Find out what kind of prescription you need
- If you want to buy medicines abroad, depending on the destination country and the medicine you need, you will need a paper prescription written by a doctor for purchasing medication abroad, an electronic prescription or a prescription written by a doctor in the destination country.
- With a prescription, you can also prove the need for the medicines you are carrying and be prepared for the loss or spoilage of medicines.
- Check how long the prescription is valid in your destination country.
- Consider whether you need other documents to import medicines
- The laws of the destination country affect the import of medicines.
- Depending on the country of destination and the medicinal product, you may need to present at customs, for example, a Schengen certificate, an import permit or a certificate of the need for insulin needles.
- You can ask assistance in establishing the local instructions, for example, from the customs, embassy and Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare.
- Remember to also take into account the instructions of any transit countries.
- Pack your medication carefully for the trip
- Carry your medicines in their original packages in your hand luggage.
- Make sure that the medicines do not get broken and that they remain at the correct temperature during travelling.
- Apply for reimbursement for medicines purchased abroad, if necessary
- You can be reimbursed for medicines purchased abroad if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance, you have a municipality of residence in Finland or you are under the cost liability of Finnish medical care.
- The reimbursement requires that a corresponding medicinal product has been classed as reimbursable in Finland.
Travelling abroad from Finland?
Are you planning to buy the medicines needed for the trip in Finland? If you are going abroad for a longer period of time, consider how much reimbursed prescription medicine you can buy at a time. Take with you a summary printout of the medicines you are taking. You can print it out from the My Kanta service.
If you intend to purchase prescription medicines in an EU or EEA country, ask your doctor for a prescription for purchasing medicines abroad. In Estonia, Portugal, Croatia, Poland and Spain, you can usually also use a Finnish electronic prescription. Please observe restrictions related to prescriptions. Outside the EU and EEA countries, prescription medicines require a prescription written by a local health care professional.
Contact the customs authorities of the destination country for information on the import of medicines.
Travelling to Finland from abroad?
You can only bring medicines for personal use. In order for you to import medicines to Finland, they must be licensed for sale in the country of purchase and they must have been purchased from a supplier that is licensed to sell medicines. The allowed import amount depends on the medicinal product and country of import.
In Finland, you can use a prescription written in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland if it contains the necessary information and the medicine is available in Finland. You can purchase medicines with an Estonian, Portuguese, Croatian, Polish and Spanish electronic prescription under certain conditions. In Finland, you cannot use a prescription written in a country other than an EU or EEA country or Switzerland.
Are you carrying any medicines that have a narcotic effect or that affect the central nervous system?
Medicines classified as narcotics or psychotropic medicines cannot be purchased with a prescription written in another country. If you need a prescription for such a medicine, ask a prescription from a local doctor.
If you travel in the Schengen area and are carrying medicines that are classified as narcotics, medicines that primarily affect the central nervous system (CNS agents) or psychotropic medicines, you must carry a Schengen certificate with you. In Finland, you can get it at a pharmacy.
The allowed import amount of medicines classified as narcotics into Finland is lower than that of other medicines.
More information for travellers
Travelling abroad from Finland
These links provide more information on exporting medicines and buying medicines abroad.
- Taking medicines abroad (EU-healthcare.fi)
- Take your medications and prescriptions with you when travelling abroad (Kanta.fi)
- Buying medications abroad (Kanta.fi)
- What medicines can I bring abroad? (Fimea.fi)
- Medicines when travelling (in Finnish) (Terveyskirjasto.fi)
- European medical prescription (in Finnish) (stm.fi)
- Foreign travel and medicine expenses (kela.fi)
- Country-specific information about health services (EU-healthcare.fi)
Travelling to Finland from abroad
These links provide more information on importing medicines to Finland, using a foreign prescription in Finland and the reimbursement of medicines bought abroad.