Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription

Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription

1. Who can use the service? 

Persons with a Finnish personal identity code can buy medicines prescribed electronically in Finland in other European countries. The medicine must always be bought at a pharmacy by the person named on the prescription. In order to be able to release the person’s prescription data to pharmacies in other European countries, the person must give consent to this in advance via the My Kanta online service. The consent covers all data held on the person in question at the Finnish Prescription Centre and it is valid until further notice. The consent can be withdrawn via the My Kanta service. If you have prohibited the release of data included in a certain prescription, you will not be able to buy medicines in another European country with that prescription. Reimbursement from Kela for medicine expenses must be claimed by the persons in question themselves. 

Buying medicines that have been prescribed electronically in Finland will first be possible in Estonia. Later on, this will also be possible in other European countries. Check the list of countries where you can at present buy medicines prescribed with an electronic prescription issued in Finland.

Your prescription data will be transmitted from the Finnish Prescription Centre to the pharmacy of another European country via the national contact points. The Finnish contact point is administered by Kela, who acts as the controller of the data stored there. Kela is also responsible for the data being processed in a secure and reliable manner. Each  country is responsible for the operations of the national contact point in their own country. Your prescription data will be processed in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the national legislation in each country. 

2.    What data about you is processed?

The following data is transmitted from the Finnish Prescription Centre to the pharmacy in the other country:

  • a list of your valid prescriptions, except prescriptions in the case of which you have prohibited data to be released
  • detailed information about the prescription for the medicine that you wish to buy. 

The list of prescriptions may also include medicines that cannot be bought on prescription in another European country. These medicines are, however, shown on the list so that the person dispensing the medicines will be able to take them into consideration when assessing the interaction and the safe use of the medicines. Check the list of medicines that you cannot buy with a prescription in pharmacies in other European countries. The content of the list may be updated later. 

The pharmacy transmits the dispensing data via the national contact points to the Prescription Centre, where the data is stored. After this, the dispensing data is available in the same way as data on medicines dispensed in Finland. 

Read more about how your prescription data is processed in the country where you buy a medicine.

3.    On what grounds is your data processed? 

The release of your data is based on section 23 a of the Finnish Act on Electronic Prescriptions (61/2007). Your prescription data can be released to pharmacies in other European countries only with your consent.

To what extent your prescription data is released depends on the restrictions you have set. If you do not consent to the data of a certain prescription being released, the data will not be released by the Prescription Centre and you will, in that case, not be able to buy the prescribed medicine in question in another European country.

Your data will be processed and stored in the European countries in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation, the national legislation of each country and the operational procedures of the pharmacies.

4.    For what purpose is your data processed?

Your prescription data is only processed for the purpose of dispensing your medicines.

In some European countries, however, your data may under certain conditions be used for other purposes, which are regulated by law. Such purposes include, for example, compilation of statistical data, monitoring and research in order to improve quality. The country that processes data for these secondary purposes has undertaken to ensure that the data is protected in an adequate manner for example by anonymising your data.

Additional information about possible secondary use of your data in different European countries.

5.    Who can process your data? 

Your data can only be processed by healthcare professionals who are authorised to process the data when dispensing your medicines. Data is not released to unauthorised persons.

Each country is responsible for ensuring that healthcare professionals and service providers have adequate knowledge and skills to dispense your medicines.

When your data is transmitted from Finland to another European country, the responsibility for the correct processing of the data is also transferred. 

The responsible parties are: 

  • the pharmacy where you buy your medicine
  • the national contact point in Finland
  • the contact point in the country where you buy the medicine.

6.    Where is your data stored and for how long? 

Your data can be stored in the data systems of the organisations that process the data. Data may be stored only for as long as is necessary for the purposes for which it is being processed. The retention periods differ from country to country. Data may be stored for longer periods only for archiving purposes in the public interest and scientific or historical research purposes. 

Additional information on the retention periods in different countries is available here.

7.    Your rights

Your prescription data may be released to a pharmacy in another European country only if you have consented to this. Without your consent, your data will not be accessible in other European countries. A consent that has been given is valid until further notice. You may withdraw your consent at any time, should you wish to do so. If you have withdrawn your consent, you can give new consent later. 

If you have prohibited the release of data related to a certain prescription, the Prescription Centre will not release that data to other European countries even if a valid consent exists.

Via the My Kanta service you can view the organisations to which your data has been released.

You have the right to make a request to Kela to view the data held on you in the Prescription Centre. You also have the right to request log files and to obtain information about by whom your prescription data has been processed and the reason and the purpose for which the data was processed. You can also ask Kela to correct information stored in the Prescription Centre originating from another European country. 

Unless otherwise prescribed by law, you have the right to ask for data held on you and stored in the country where you bought a medicine to be deleted or corrected without delay.

You have the right to lodge a complaint concerning matters related to the processing of your data with the supervising authority

8.    Seeking reimbursement from Kela 

Medicine purchases made in another European country do not automatically entitle to reimbursement from Kela. You can, however, apply for reimbursement on form SV 128e titled “Claim for reimbursement of medical care expenses incurred abroad”. Reimbursement must be applied for within six months of the date when the medicine was bought and paid for.

Kela may pay reimbursement for a medicine bought in another European country, if it is the equivalent of a medicine that is reimbursable in Finland. Whether it is equivalent is determined by reference to the pharmaceutical substance and strength. The grounds for reimbursement are the reference price and the retail price in Finland for the equivalent medicine.

Keep the packaging for the medicine. It may be needed to determine your eligibility for reimbursement.

For more detailed information on reimbursements for medicines, see Kela’s website.

9.    Contact information