Reimbursement for medicines purchased abroad

Kela reimburses some of the costs of medicines purchased abroad. You can be reimbursed for medicines purchased abroad if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance, you have a municipality of residence in Finland or you are under the cost liability of Finnish medical care. The reimbursement requires that a corresponding medicinal product has been classed as reimbursable in Finland.


Medicine costs incurred abroad can also be reimbursed to persons who do not live in Finland but are covered by health insurance in Finland through their work. A family member of a person working in Finland, who lives in another EU country, may also be eligible for reimbursement.

Medicines purchased in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland

If you purchase medicines in an EU or EEA country or Switzerland with a prescription issued in Finland, you pay the medicine expenses yourself. You can claim reimbursement for the medicines from Kela retrospectively. The reimbursement requires that a corresponding medicine is eligible for reimbursement in Finland.

If you receive medically necessary treatment in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland during your temporary stay, you can also obtain medicines with your European Health Insurance Card in the same way as local residents. However, if you pay the medicine expenses yourself, you can apply for compensation from Kela or the health insurance institution of the country in question.

If you apply for the retroactive reimbursement of medicine purchases from Kela, you can opt to base your claim either on Finnish legislation or the reimbursement specified by the legislation in the country where the treatment was provided.

If you have travelled to another EU or EEA country or Switzerland for the purpose of obtaining treatment without prior authorisation from Kela, you are liable to pay the treatment and medicine expenses in full. Retroactive reimbursement for these costs can be applied for from Kela in accordance with the Health Insurance Act. In practice, the reimbursement cannot exceed what you would get for a corresponding medicinal product in Finland.

If Kela has granted you prior authorisation for treatment in another EU or EEC country or Switzerland, you will normally not need to pay for medication administered in connection with your treatment.

  • However, if you pay the treatment and medicine expenses yourself, Kela will reimburse no more than the cost of the corresponding treatment through the public health care system in your municipality of residence.
  • If you have been granted prior authorisation and you have only paid for medicine expenses, the reimbursement based on the Health Insurance Act will cover the costs you would have incurred purchasing corresponding medicines at a pharmacy in Finland.

Medicines purchased in other countries

Kela will only reimburse medicine costs incurred outside EU and EEA countries and Switzerland if you have fallen suddenly ill or if you have been in need of treatment due to a chronic disease, pregnancy or childbirth.
Medicine expenses will not be reimbursed if you have travelled outside the EU, EEA or Switzerland for the express purpose of treatment.