Using a foreign medical prescription in Finland
Prescriptions written in other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland must be filled in Finland if they carry the following information:
- patient’s surname, first name and date of birth
- prescription’s date of issue
- information on the prescribing professional: surname, first name, professional qualification, direct contact information (e-mail address and phone number or fax with the international prefix), work address (including country) and signature
- information on the medicine: name of the active substance, pharmaceutical form, quantity, strength and dosage regimen.
A pharmacy may, however, fill a prescription upon its own discretion, even if some required piece of information of the prescription is missing.
Medicines classified as narcotics or psychotropic medicines and a medicine requiring prescription retention cannot be purchased with a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. If you need such medicines during your stay in Finland, you need to obtain a prescription from a doctor who practises in Finland.
If you intend to purchase medication in another member state, the prescription must be issued using the name of the active substance of the pharmaceutical. The prescription can be issued using the trade name if the use of the trade name is justified. The use of the trade name must be justified in the prescription.
The EU countries use a variety of prescription forms. The layout of the prescriptions has not been harmonised. Some countries have adopted separate forms for medicines to be purchased abroad, but not all countries have done this. A pharmacy must fill a prescription issued in another EU country if it contains the above-mentioned information, irrespective of the layout.
A prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland may also be electronic. At the moment, prescription medicines prescribed in Estonia, Croatia, Portugal, Poland and Spain with an electronic prescription can be purchased at Finnish pharmacies. Commissioning of the service is being prepared also in the other EU countries.
When you buy medicines with an e-prescription, you must visit the pharmacy in person. Take a photo ID, i.e. your passport or ID card with you to the pharmacy. For example, you can buy medicines with an e-prescription if the prescription is issued with an Estonian personal identity code.
Determining the authenticity of medical prescriptions
A pharmacy may decline to fill a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland if there is reason to suspect its authenticity. If necessary, the pharmacy can request a contact point for cross-border health care to determine the right of the person who issued the prescription to practise their profession. This might take a few days because the system is not real-time.
In European countries, the various professional groups in the health care field have different rights with regard to prescribing medication. For example, in many countries nurses are allowed to prescribe certain medicines. A prescription must be filled in Finland if the person who issued the prescription was entitled to do so in the country where the prescription was issued.