Purchasing medication abroad

Ask your doctor to provide a medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad if you intend to purchase medication in another EU or EEA country. If you wish to purchase prescription medication outside of the EU/EEA area, you normally need a prescription issued by a local health care professional.

A medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad is issued using the name of the active substance in the medicine. The prescription can be issued using the trade name if the product in question is a biological medicine or if the use of the trade name is medically justified. The doctor in question must justify the use of the trade name in the prescription. The prescription is available in Finnish and English or in Swedish and English.

In addition to this, the following principles apply to the prescription:

  • Medicines classified as narcotics or psychotropic medicines cannot be obtained abroad with a prescription issued in Finland.
  • The period of validity of the prescription is defined based on the legislation of the country where the medication is purchased. In Finland, a prescription is usually valid for two years.
  • A pharmacy may refuse to fill a prescription issued in another country if there is doubt of the authenticity or validity of the prescription.

The authorities of EU countries can exchange information on the rights of health care professionals to prescribe medication if the authenticity of a prescription is in doubt, for example. If a pharmacy doubts the authenticity of a prescription issued in another EU country, it may request a contact point for cross-border health care to determine the right of the person who issued the prescription to prescribe medication.

The layout of prescriptions varies between EU countries

There is no standardised prescription form for the entire EU area, and thus the prescription forms used in various countries vary in terms of their layout.

Electronic systems for processing medical prescriptions are being built between the EU countries. For now, paper forms are still used for obtaining medication in another member country. In Finland, the doctor prints out a medical prescription from the Kanta.fi website for purchasing medication abroad.

Prices of medication abroad

You can read more about the prices of medication abroad on the websites of the pharmacies in the country in question or by contacting the country’s contact point for cross-border health care.