Buying prescription medicines abroad
Buying prescription medicines abroad
ConsentOpen all questions
You can give your consent in My Kanta Pages. You can give your consent to share prescription data with pharmacies in European countries, either with all countries or with specific ones.
The “All” selection concerns countries that are part of the Cross-border Prescriptions service at the time of giving the consent and new European countries joining the service in the future.
Before giving your consent, please read information on the Cross-border Prescription service.
For the time being, it is possible to give your consent to sharing prescription data in My Kanta Pages only. You can log in to My Kanta Pages with your banking codes, electronic ID card or mobile certificate.
Please check in My Kanta Pages that you have given consent to sharing prescription data with other European countries. A Kanta consent or any other consent is not valid here.
If the viewing of the prescription has been restricted (prescription-specific refusal), the prescription will not be seen overseas at all and it cannot be dispensed. You can withdraw the refusal in My Kanta Pages.
For the time being, a minor is not entitled to give their consent to sharing prescription with other European countries in My Kanta Pages. For this reason, the service cannot be used by people under the age of 18. The functionality has not been implemented, as the use of the service by a minor has not been specified at the international level. If a minor urgently needs medicines while abroad, they must visit the local healthcare services. Before travelling abroad, they can also request their doctor to issue a prescription called “Prescription for purchasing abroad”.
Prescriptions pertaining to the serviceOpen all questions
The following medicines cannot be bought overseas with an e-prescription:
- Medicinal products mainly having an impact on the central nervous system (CNS medication), which require the original prescription (CNS class, PA or ZA).
- You can check the CNS class in Fimea’s pharmaceutical search service
- Medicinal products prepared in the pharmacy
- Over-the-counter products that are not medicines (e.g. base creams, clinical nutritional preparations)
- Care supplies, dietary supplements and dressings
- Patient-specific special licensed medicines
You cannot buy medicines abroad with an e-prescription if
- the medicine has been prescribed for a specific period of time, e.g. the total amount of the medicine is determined with the wording “medication for 12 months’ use”.
- You check the prescribed quantity in My Kanta Pages and can ask the doctor to issue the prescription as whole packages or as the total amount of medicine.
- the prescription is iterated, i.e. the prescription can be re-dispensed at specific intervals
- You can ask the doctor to issue the prescription as whole packages or as the total amount of medicine.
- the prescription applies to combination packages, which contain several different preparations
- the package size is in text format only
- the prescription is reserved or locked. In Finland, the pharmacy has reserved the prescription for dispensing the medicine or locked the prescription in order to verify the dosage.
- the prescription is subject to a doctor’s fee and it has not yet been dispensed in Finland. The first purchase must be made in Finland.
- the prescription is subject to a prescription-specific refusal to share information
- Withdraw the prescription-specific refusal in My Kanta Pages before purchasing the medicine.
- “no substitution” is indicated on the prescription.
In these cases, in general, the pharmacy may get a “non dispensable” error message in the case of the above-mentioned prescriptions. The pharmacy can view the prescriptions but cannot dispense them.
The amount of medicine still to be dispensed on a prescription disclosed to an overseas pharmacy must be expressed as a single clear figure for dispensing purposes. With prescriptions issued for a specific period or to be renewed at specific intervals, is not possible to run a program to calculate the remaining amount of medicine to be dispensed. For that reason, they cannot be dispensed abroad.
Doctors are instructed to issue prescriptions as packages or the total amount, in which case there is no obstacle to dispensing the prescription abroad. If you intend to buy medicine from an overseas pharmacy in future, but the doctor has issued the prescription for a specific period or to be renewed at specific intervals, it is advisable to ask the doctor to prescribe the medicine so that it will be possible to buy it abroad in the future.
Unfortunately, there is no absolute certainty that a specific prescription can definitely be dispensed, and the matter is out of your hands.
The supply of medicines at an overseas pharmacy may be more limited than in Finland and the pharmacy may not stock the medicine, and there is no available substitution. Furthermore, the medicine in question may not have marketing authorisation in the country in question. The pharmacist may also refuse to dispense a medication due to the rules for substitutional medicinal products in the country in question. An overseas pharmacy dispenses the medication according to the legislation in that country.
Please request a prescription from a doctor in the country in question.
No, it is not. If you have received a prescription entitled “Prescription for purchasing abroad”, i.e. an English-language prescription printed on paper for purchasing the medicines abroad, it is not valid in Finland and the prescription cannot be dispensed electronically. You must have the paper prescription with you when visiting an overseas pharmacy although the prescription can be viewed in your prescription data in My Kanta Pages.
Countries and organisations providing the serviceOpen all questions
At the moment, the service is available in Estonia and Croatia. When other countries join the service, we will add them in the section Buying medications abroad on the Kanta website.
If you are buying medicines from a European country where the service is not yet available, please ask your doctor to issue you with a prescription for purchasing abroad (the medicine can only be bought overseas, its dispensing in Finland is blocked, a paper copy of the prescription is needed in the pharmacy).
Kela does not maintain a list of overseas pharmacies where the service is available. You can ask about the service availability directly from the overseas pharmacy.
Estonia has issued a list of the pharmacies that can dispense medicines with a Finnish e-prescription.
I am an overseas citizen. Can I buy medicines with a Finnish (electronic) prescription from my own country?
If your prescription has been issued with a Finnish personal identity code, you can buy the medicine with the prescription in question at a pharmacy in your own country. The pharmacy must be capable of dispensing electronic prescriptions issued in another country.
The purchase requires that you have given your consent to disclosing the prescription data to overseas pharmacies in My Kanta Pages and that you can produce an official Finnish identity document at the pharmacy (passport of ID card).
If you do not have a Finnish identity code, you cannot buy medicines with an e-prescription at an overseas pharmacy. A doctor can issue you with a prescription for purchasing abroad (the medicine can be bought abroad only, dispensing the medicine in Finland has been blocked) or issue the medicine with a European prescription (the medicine can be bought either in Finland or at another pharmacy in Europe).
Service operationOpen all questions
I have not bought the full amount of medicine issued on the prescription, but there is no medicine left on the prescription.
In certain situations, it is not possible to run a program to calculate the remaining amount of medicine when the dispensing takes place abroad. For example, if 20 ampoules of medicine have been prescribed in Finland, the overseas pharmacy may notify the dispensed amount in millilitres (40 ml), and the calculation of the remaining amount is unsuccessful (it is not possible to deduct 40 millilitres from 20 ampoules). In this case, the prescription is marked as fully dispensed. If you need more medicine, a doctor must renew the prescription.
You can claim reimbursement for medicine purchased abroad from Kela in arrears by completing the form “Claim for reimbursement of medical care expenses incurred abroad” (SV 128). The necessary attachments must be enclosed with the claim (e.g. the receipt and any printouts received from the pharmacy). Further information is available from How to claim reimbursement for medicine expenses.
The dispensing data of medicines dispensed abroad and the sharing of prescription data are shown in My Kanta Pages. The healthcare and pharmacy professionals can see the data of dispensed prescriptions.
An overseas pharmacy cannot see previous dispensing events of the prescription. Overseas healthcare professionals (at health centres or hospitals) cannot see Finnish prescriptions or their dispensing events.
Acting on behalf of someone elseOpen all questions
It is not possible to purchase medicines with an e-prescription on behalf of someone else at an overseas pharmacy. The reason for this is technical as it is not possible to share the required data electronically between countries.
A parent cannot purchase medicines for their child who is under the age of 18 at an overseas pharmacy on an e-prescription because a person under 18 cannot give their consent in My Kanta Pages. The functionality has not been implemented, as the use of the service by a minor has not been specified at the international level. If a minor urgently needs medicines while abroad, they must visit the local healthcare services. Before travelling abroad, they can also request their doctor to issue a prescription called “Prescription for purchasing abroad”.