Dispensing of European e-prescriptions

Dispensing of European e-prescriptions

Finnish pharmacies can dispense European e-prescriptions. Five countries are currently participating in the service. There are country-specific differences in the dispensing of prescriptions.

Electronic prescriptions from the following countries are accepted in Finnish pharmacies:

  • Estonia
  • Croatia
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Spain (16 regions from 4 March 2024)

More European countries will be joining in later. Information about new countries will be updated on this page as and when they join the service.

Reasons for non-dispensing of prescriptions

An overseas prescription cannot be dispensed in Finland in the case of medicinal products subject to special medical prescription, such as

  • prescription for drug preparations
  • CNS medication that requires the original prescription stored in the pharmacy, the classification of which in the Pharmaceutical Database is PA or ZA.

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.

Dispensing a prescription

Before the medicine is dispensed, the overseas customer is identified with a personal identification document containing his/her photo. The customer is also given information about the processing of data in Finland.

Electronic prescriptions are retrieved to Finland from the other country and, correspondingly, the dispensing information is sent to the other country via national contact points. The national contact point in Finland is Kela. The national contact points ensure that only prescriptions that are eligible for dispensing in the country of origin will be transmitted through them to another European country. If no prescription is found, it is checked that the customer has given their consent to share data if that is required in the other country.

Dispensing of medicines follows Fimea’s effective administrative regulation concerning dispensing of medicines on the basis of a European prescription.

Reimbursements only later

Until further notice, it is not possible to claim direct Kela reimbursement for the purchase of medicines in a Finnish pharmacy with an overseas e-prescription. The customer must apply for any reimbursement for medicine expenses afterwards in their country of residence or from Kela, depending on their situation. The customer is given a receipt for the purchase, as well as a printout of the PDF version of the prescription for the purpose of applying for reimbursement for medicine expenses. If the customer is claiming reimbursement from Kela, they are also given a statement of the medicine purchases.

Training on electronic prescription

Country-specific differences in dispensing e-prescriptions

The special features of countries included in the scheme are described in the following. There may also be other country-specific restrictions concerning dispensing of prescriptions overseas.

My Health @ EU logo. eHealth Digital Service Infrastructure. The service is provided by the European Union.

  • Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription in Estonian
  • The identity of the customer is confirmed with a passport (europa.eu) or ID card (europa.eu). You can check the links below to see which Estonian identity documents are accepted.
  • An Estonian personal identity code is provided when the prescription is requested to be dispensed. The person must have Estonian citizenship or residence permit in Estonia as well as an Estonian address. If the address of record is not in Estonia, the prescription cannot be dispensed.
  • No consent is required, but the citizen can refuse sending of prescription data overseas.
  • As a rule, prescriptions are issued with a generic name, and the reason for using the commercial name must be given on the prescription.
  • Unless the doctor has limited the duration of the prescription validity, prescriptions are valid for 60 days and after renewal for 180 days. The majority of prescriptions issued for continuous medication are valid for 180 days. Prescriptions for drug preparations are valid for 30 days.
  • Prescriptions for narcotics cannot be dispensed in Finland. In addition, due to country-specific restrictions with Estonia, it is not possible to dispense certain psychotropic preparations.
  • A saved dispensing event cannot be rectified or invalidated retrospectively. The patient can contact the doctor and request a new prescription.
  • There are not restrictions concerning the processing of prescription data of an underage person.
  • Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription in Croatian
  • The customer must consent to the release of prescription details abroad through the Croatian Health Portal. Persons over 16 years of age can give this consent.
  • The customer is identified by a photo ID card (europa.eu). In addition, they must show a health insurance card. You can check the link below to see which Croatian identity documents are accepted.
  • When collecting prescriptions, the customer must provide a 9-character insurance code (MBO) from the health insurance card.
  • Prescriptions are valid for 15 days. Prescriptions containing psychotropic substances are valid for 5 days and prescriptions for antibiotics for 3 days.
  • Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription in Portuguese
  • The customer must consent to the release of prescription details abroad through the Portuguese NHS Portal.
  • The customer is identified by a passport (europa.eu) or ID card (europa.eu). You can check the links below to see which Portuguese identity documents are accepted.
  • When collecting a prescription, the customer's health insurance code is provided. The code can be found on the back of the identity card (NHS patient ID). In addition, the prescription code and dispensation PIN code are provided. They are on the prescription printout or in the customer’s mobile app.
  • Prescriptions for acute ailments are valid for 30 days and for long-term ailments for six months.
  • Prescriptions are usually issued under a generic name, the use of a trade name must be justified in the prescription.
  • There are not restrictions concerning the processing of prescription data of an underage person.
  • Information on the Electronic Cross-border Prescription in Polish
  • The customer must consent to the release of prescription details abroad through the Polish patient's online account (https://pacjent.gov.pl/).
  • The customer is identified by a passport (europa.eu) or an identity card with a photo (europa.eu). You can check the links below to see which Polish identity documents are accepted.
  • When collecting an e-prescription, the customer's Personal ID Number is provided (PESEL).
  • Cross-border e-prescriptions can be dispensed only by adults (18+).
  • Cross-border e-prescriptions validity:
    • A standard prescription for normal medicines and OTC medicines: 30 days
    • A prescription for immunological medicines: 120 day
    • A prescription for antibiotics: 7 days

  • E-prescriptions out of scope:
    • Psychotropic medicines,
    • Strong medicines affecting the central nervous system,
    • Ex tempore medicines, prepared in a pharmacy.
  • Cross-border e-prescriptions are normally provided with a brand name.
  • Information in Spanish (pdf)
  • The customer is identified by a health insurance card with a photograph. There are two options for this. They are shown in the following table:
Spanish customer identification options
Identification option Number of identifiers required Code entered into the pharmacy system
1 1 National identification code (16 characters)
2 2 Regional personal identity code + regional identifier

Identification option 1, national identification code

  • The national identification code consists of 8 B letters and 8 other characters (a total of 16 characters)

Identification option 2, regional personal identity code + regional identifier

  • There are different variations of the regional personal identity code (Spanish "Tasa"). Ask the customer which of the series of numbers on the card is the regional personal identity code.
  • Regional identifiers (Spanish "Cite"): There are several regions in Spain, each of which has a different health insurance card and region identifier. Region identifiers for different regions:
    • Andalusia: 803404 or 80724000049
    • Aragon: 803410 or 80724000106
    • Basque Country: 803402 or 80724000023
    • The Canary Islands: 803412 or 80724000122
    • Cantabria: 803406 or 80724000064
    • Castile and León: 803417 or 80724000171
    • Castilla–La Mancha: 803411 or 80724000114
    • Catalonia: 803401 or 80724000015
    • Ceuta: 803418 or 80724000189
    • Extremadura: 803413 or 80724000130
    • Galicia: 803415 or 80724000031
    • The Community of Madrid: 803416 or 80724000163
    • Melilla: 803419 or 80724000197
    • Murcia: 803408 or 80724000080
    • Navarre: 803403 or 80724000155
    • Valencia: 803409 or 80724000098
    • Note! Not all regional health insurance cards for Andalusia and the Basque Country have a regional identifier. In this case, enter the region identifier according to the list above.
  • If the customer's health insurance card does not have a photograph, they must additionally present a passport or identity card with a photo in addition to the health insurance card.
  • Please note that the abovementioned identifiers are entered into different fields in different pharmacy systems. Contact your system vendor to ensure the correct course of action.
  • The customer does not need to give consent to the disclosure of prescription data for dispensing abroad.
  • Prescriptions can either be generic or indicate trade names.
  • Due to country-specific restrictions in Spain, in addition to narcotic and psychotropic preparations, prescriptions for products containing more than four compounds (multivitamins) cannot be dispensed.
  • Prescriptions for medicines for chronic diseases are valid for a year.
  • Doctors, nurses, and dentists can prescribe medication.
Last updated 18.3.2024