Buying medicines with an overseas prescription

Buying medicines with an overseas prescription

Finland will gradually make it available to purchase medicines with an e-prescription issued in another European country. Estonia was the first country to join the scheme with Finland.

You can buy medicines from a pharmacy with an e-prescription issued to you in your home country if your country has the readiness to send your prescription data to Finland. At first, it was possible to buy medicines with Estonian e-prescriptions. Croatian and Portuguese prescriptions are accepted from 31 August 2020. Many other countries will join the scheme later. You can visit all pharmacies in Finland.

Familiarise yourself with the information on how your data are used and processed when you buy prescription medicines from Finnish pharmacies with an electronic prescription (pdf, ec.europa.eu).

The consent and refusal practices with e-prescriptions vary between different countries. If your country requires your consent to share prescription data with a pharmacy in another country, please give the consent before visiting a Finnish pharmacy. Prescriptions for which you may have issued a refusal to share data cannot be dispensed in Finland.

You can also buy medicines in Finland with a written prescription issued in an EU or EEA country or in Switzerland.

Visiting a Finnish pharmacy

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.

The following medicines cannot be purchased in Finland:

  • narcotics
  • certain medicinal products mainly having an impact on the central nervous system.

Every country can also exclude other medicines from the service. 

Acting on behalf of another person is not possible because the required information cannot be shared electronically between the countries. If the underage customer is present in the pharmacy, the transaction is possible in principle. However, there are country-specific differences in the transfer of prescription data of an underage person. 

In order for the pharmacy to dispense the medicine, the prescription must meet the requirements of Finnish legislation and the medicine in question must have marketing authorisation in Finland.

The selection of medicines varies in different countries. Please note that in Finland the principles of generic substitution of medicinal products may be different from your home country. The pharmacy dispenses the medication according to Finnish legislation.

If it is not possible to purchase medicines from a pharmacy with the original prescription and you urgently need the medicine, please contact the Finnish healthcare services.

Until further notice, it is not possible to claim direct Kela reimbursement for medicines purchased in Finland. Depending on your situation, you can claim reimbursement afterwards in your country of residence or from Kela. For that reason, please retain the documents, receipts and protective packaging related to the medicines.

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Further information