Medicinal treatment in Finland

Medicinal treatment is considered part of patient care and health care operations. In Finland, medication can be prescribed by doctors and, if certain requirements are met, nurses to whom the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) has granted a limited prescription right.

Health care professionals take part in medicinal treatment in accordance with their training and expertise. Each professional is responsible for the medicinal treatment they provide.

  • The training of legalised health care professionals, such as nurses, provides them with extensive capabilities to implement medicinal care. However, they are also required to have a facility-specific permit in the context of demanding medicinal care, such as intravenous medication or blood transfusion.
  • Health care professionals with protected occupational titles, such as practical nurses, may distribute and administer medication to patients when the medication is administered by natural means – this includes tables, eye drops and ear drops. They may also be granted a facility-specific permit to administer medication as injections, for example.

A health care employer is responsible for ensuring that its employees engage in health care activities according to their level of competence.

A health care operating unit, such as a health centre or hospital ward, must have a medicinal treatment plan, on which the medicinal treatment implemented in the unit must be based. The plan defines how the unit implements and monitors medicinal treatment, along with the responsibilities of those who take part in the medicinal treatment.

Municipalities and hospital districts procure the medicines used in hospitals and other treatment facilities by organising a competitive bidding process for the suppliers in accordance with the Act on Public Contracts.

Fimea monitors the safety and adverse effects of medication

In Finland, the safety and harmful effects of medication are monitored by the Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea), to which doctors and pharmacies report any adverse effects observed. If you have experienced adverse side effects from medication, you can also report them to Fimea yourself.

Costs of medicinal treatment to the patient

Medicines administered at a hospital or other treatment facility are part of your treatment and part of your client fee. The costs are not charged separately if you reside in Finland or are entitled to receive treatment based on EU legislation or an international convention on social security.

If you need to pay the actual costs of the treatment yourself, the costs of the medication will also be taken into account in the expenses. You must cover the actual costs of the treatment yourself, for example, if you come to Finland for medical care.

Patients must independently obtain the medication used in outpatient care from pharmacies. Kela reimburses a portion of the costs of outpatient care medication to persons who reside or are covered by health insurance in Finland. You can also receive Kela reimbursements for medicine costs if you are entitled to care in Finland based on EU legislation or an international convention.