Prescriptions are valid for two years if the validity period is not restricted. Prescriptions for central nervous system drugs (CNS) and narcotic medications are valid for a maximum of one year.
Prescriptions are saved in the Prescription Centre, which is a centralised database for prescription data in the Kanta service. Continuity of care and the flow of information between the patient and the attending doctors are improved when the prescription data is recorded in one place. The Prescription Centre includes all prescriptions and their dispensing events made by pharmacies. You can collect your medication from any pharmacy on the basis of the data in the Prescription Centre.
A doctor may issue a telephone or paper prescription only in exceptional cases, for example, due to problems in data communications. The pharmacy will also convert this prescription into electronic form and record it in the Prescription Centre.
View your own prescription data in My Kanta pages
You can browse your own prescription data in My Kanta pages. In the service, you can see the prescriptions issued to you, the validity period of your prescriptions and the quantities of medicines outstanding.
Prescription renewal request
You can request to renew a prescription that has already been used for purchasing medicine. If the prescription is valid for two years, it can be renewed for 28 months from the issue date. Other prescriptions can be renewed for 16 months.
You can request to renew a prescription
- when visiting a healthcare service or by calling on the phone
- when visiting a pharmacy
- in My Kanta pages.
In My Kanta pages, a parent or guardian can also send a renewal request for a prescription of a child under the age of 10.
The prescription is primarily renewed by the attending healthcare unit that you have visited before. The prescription is renewed within 8 days. If the prescription renewal request is not processed within that time, the request will expire.
If you wish, you can get a text message notification of the result of the prescription renewal. You can also make enquiries about the status of the renewal by calling your healthcare service or visiting a pharmacy. If a prescription cannot be renewed for medical reasons, the healthcare service will contact you.
It is not possible to have a Finnish prescription renewed by a pharmacy in another European country.
A summary of all your prescriptions
If you would like a summary of all your prescriptions, you can view it or print it out in My Kanta pages. You can also ask for a paper copy of the summary at the pharmacy or in healthcare services.
The summary will show either all your electronic prescriptions, all prescriptions issued within a certain period, or only those with medicines outstanding. It also shows details about the last dispensing events, quantities of medicines outstanding, and the validity of the prescription.
After the name of the medicine, there is a barcode that the pharmacy uses for retrieving the prescription data swiftly and easily from the Prescription Centre.
Pharmacies in other European countries cannot print out a summary of the information stored in the Prescription Centre.
Patient instruction sheet speeds up running errands at a pharmacy
At the doctor’s surgery, you will be given a printed patient instruction sheet. The instruction sheet provides the same information as the paper prescriptions previously in use. If the prescription is renewed and no changes are made to it, the patient instruction sheet remains the same. It is advisable to take the patient instruction sheet with you to the pharmacy as it will speed up the transaction. If you don’t have your patient instruction sheet with you, you can also use, e.g. your Kela card.
In Finland, you can collect your prescription medicines at any pharmacy. The pharmacy will access the Prescription Centre to look up the medications and dispense them to you.
If you plan to buy your medications from a pharmacy in another European country on an electronic prescription, see these instructions. Before collecting medicines from a pharmacy in another European country, you must also give your consent on My Kanta.
If you refuse the disclosure of prescription information, pharmacies will not be able to view the information in the prescription. Therefore, be sure to cancel the refusal beforehand if you wish to buy medications on that prescription.
Whenever you buy medications from a pharmacy in another European country, you must present your passport or ID to prove your identity.
Need help with your prescriptions?
If someone else collects your medication from the pharmacy, they must show your Kela card or the patient instruction sheet for the prescription. If you need help with managing your prescriptions, you can read more information about acting on behalf of another person.
At this point, it is not possible to pick up medications on someone else’s behalf from a pharmacy in another European country.
Usually, medicine reimbursement is made directly by the pharmacy. The pharmacy will check your right to reimbursement from Kela's direct reimbursement inquiry service. You can claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards for any prescription medicines you buy abroad.
Use of the Prescription service improves patient safety
With your consent, the doctor can verify your overall medication regimen and prevent adverse interaction or concurrent use of medicines. At your request, your overall medication regimen can also be verified by a pharmacist or dispenser in a pharmacy or by an attending nurse in healthcare services.
Electronic prescriptions will bring you the following benefits:
- prescriptions and your personal data are always safe and secure
- no need to carry paper copies with you
- medicines can be collected from any pharmacy in Finland
- improved continuity of care
- overall medication regimen is easier to manage
- electronic prescriptions cannot be forged as the doctor records the prescription data in the electronic database, i.e. the Prescription Centre, and the pharmacy retrieves the information from there.
Uniform medicine data
All healthcare providers and pharmacies have access to data that is based on the Pharmaceutical Database in the Kanta Services, and prescriptions are issued on the basis of this data. The Pharmaceutical Database ensures that all operators have uniform information with regard to the medicinal products on the market, the required data for issuing and dispensing the medicines, and information about the price and reimbursement status of the medicine and about interchangeable medicinal products. The database also includes information about reimbursable emollient creams and dietary foods for special medical purposes.
Information about medicine reimbursement and the price of medicines is available from Kela, pharmacies or healthcare services. The price and reimbursability of medicines can also be looked up online in the Medicinal Products Database (kela.fi).