Dispensing the prescription

Dispensing the prescription

When a patient arrives at a pharmacy to collect his medication, the pharmacist with or without MSc (Pharm) (proviisori) identify themselves in the pharmacy system with the healthcare professional card. The pharmacy system searches for the prescriptions to be dispensed from the Prescription Centre where the doctor has saved them.

If the buyer of the medicine is not the patient him/herself, the person must be able to prove in a reliable way that they are entitled to receive the patient's medication. To do this, they must show either a patient instruction sheet or the patient's Kela card, or they must be able to prove their right to act on behalf of the patient in some other way. 

Searching prescriptions with a bar code

The patient instruction sheet and the summary printout of the patient's prescriptions contain a bar code, which can be used by the pharmacy system to search for the prescription in the Prescription Centre without the pharmacist having to enter any other information about the patient or the prescription into the system.

Searching prescriptions without a patient instruction sheet

If the patient is collecting the medication without a patient instruction sheet or summary, the pharmacist will search the information required for specifying the prescriptions using the patient's personal identity code. The search can be limited by searching the specific data of all of the patient's prescriptions with some medication left on the prescription or by limiting the prescription search to apply to undispensed or partially dispensed prescriptions issued within a specific time period. From the prescriptions found as a result of the prescription search, the pharmacist will choose the ones from which the patient wants to purchase medication.


Dispensing is carried out one prescription at a time. When a prescription is selected to be dispensed, the pharmacy system will show the pharmacists or the pharmacology student the dispensing event that has been precompleted on the basis of the prescription data.  The pharmacist checks the information of the dispensing event and completes the information. The pharmacy system verifies that compulsory information has been completed and the drug to be dispensed is found in the Pharmaceutical Database unless it is a question of medication to be prepared at the pharmacy or other preparation outside the Pharmaceutical Database.

If the dispensing person is a pharmacology student, the dispensing event is saved to be inspected and sent by the supervising pharmacist. 

The prescription contains a field where the doctor may have written a message to the pharmacy. The message may be, for example, information about when the prescription can be dispensed or when the patient should book a follow-up appointment.

The dispensing information for a prescription dispensed by a pharmacy in another European country may be incomplete. If a pharmacy discovers an error in such dispensing information, it must contact the Kanta Services.

Dispensing event is signed electronically

When all of the patient's prescriptions to be dispensed at the same time are ready, the pharmacist will sign the dispensing events electronically and send them to the Prescription Centre. The professional card enables not only identification of the person, but also electronic signing.

With the electronic signature, it will be possible to verify at a later date who has dispensed the prescription and when. An electronic prescription is safer than a traditional signature: it cannot be forged and it guarantees that the contents signed for are unchanged. 

Handing over the medication to the patient

When the medication is handed over to the patient, the patient is given a description of the dispensed medication. The information is printed out onto the sticker to be attached to the package.

It is also possible to give a summary of the patient's prescriptions at the patient's request. The summary will show the latest information about the amount of medication still to be dispensed.

Last updated 27.7.2020