Filling foreign medical prescriptions in Finland

In Finland, you can purchase medication with a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland if the medication in question is licensed for sale in Finland. Correspondingly, other EU countries must recognise prescriptions issued in other member states.


Prescriptions issued in other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland must be filled in Finland if they carry the following information:

  • patient’s surname, first name and date of birth
  • prescription’s date of issue
  • information on the prescribing professional: surname, first name, professional qualification, direct contact information (e-mail address and phone number or fax with the international prefix), work address (including country) and signature
  • information on the medicine: name of the active substance, pharmaceutical form, quantity, strength and dosage regimen.

The reciprocal recognition of prescriptions does not apply to pharmaceuticals classified as narcotics or psychotropic medicines, meaning that they cannot be purchased with a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland.

Prescription issued in countries other than EU or EEA countries or Switzerland will not be filled at Finnish pharmacies.

If you intend to purchase medication in another member state, the prescription must be issued using the name of the active substance of the pharmaceutical. The prescription can be issued using the trade name if the product in question is a biological drug or if the use of the trade name is justified. The use of the trade name must be justified in the prescription.

EU countries use varying prescription forms

The EU countries use a variety prescription forms. The layout of the prescriptions has not been standardised. Some countries have adopted separate forms for medicines to be purchased abroad, but not all countries have done this. A pharmacy must fill a prescription issued in another EU country if it contains the above-mentioned information, irrespective of the layout.

A pharmacy may decline to fill a prescription if there is reason to doubt its authenticity

A pharmacy may decline to fill a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland if there is reason to suspect its authenticity. If necessary, the pharmacy can request a contact point for cross-border health care to determine the right of the person who issued the prescription to prescribe medication.

In European countries, the various professional groups in the health care field have different rights with regard to prescribing medication. For example, in many countries nurses are allowed to prescribe certain medicines. A prescription must be filled in Finland if the person who issued the prescription was entitled to do so in the country where the prescription was issued.

The reciprocal recognition of medical prescriptions only applies to EU countries, which means that EEA countries and Switzerland are not obliged to fill prescriptions issued in Finland or other EU countries. However, prescriptions issued in EEA countries and Switzerland are filled in Finland.