Using a foreign medical prescription 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.  Prescriptions issued in countries other than other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland cannot be used to purchase medicines in Finland.


Prescriptions written in other EU or EEC 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.

Medicines classified as narcotics or psychotropic medicines cannot be purchased with a prescription issued in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland. If you need such medicines during your stay in Finland, you need to obtain a prescription from a doctor who practises in Finland.

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.

The EU countries use a variety prescription forms. The layout of the prescriptions has not been harmonised. 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.

Determining the authenticity of medical prescriptions

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 the Contact-Point for Cross-Border Healthcare 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.