Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Social Insurance Institution Kela, National Institute for Health and Welfare THL, Finland
Holders of an electronic prescription written in Finland can buy medicines in European pharmacies

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 21.1.2019 10.57
Press release 10/2019

An electronic prescription written in Finland can now be used outside Finnish borders, with some limitations. Finland and Estonia are the first countries where this electronic service will be in use. Later, the service is going to be extended to other European countries.

Initially, medicines prescribed in Finland can be purchased in Estonia. Because the service may be slow in the beginning, customers should be prepared for waiting. In the future, Finnish pharmacies will be similarly able to dispense electronic prescriptions written in other European countries.

The reform will make it possible for a person with a Finnish personal identity code to use his or her prescription to purchase the prescribed medicine in  European pharmacies. Medicines can be purchased by using valid e-prescriptions saved in a Prescription Centre.

The data in the prescription can only be disclosed to a foreign pharmacy with the client’s consent. Consent to the use of the service is given in the My Kanta service.  The consent will be valid until further notice and it can also be cancelled in the My Kanta service.

The service will be useful for travellers who have forgotten their medicine at home or who plan to stay in another country for a longer period. The new service allows travellers to buy medicines requiring cold storage at their destination.

A Finnish prescription does not guarantee that the medicine will be available in a pharmacy in another country because not all medicines are available in all countries. In addition, the names of the medicinal products and pack sizes may be different. If the pharmacy is unable to fill a prescription written in Finland, the traveller may have to turn to a local health care service provider.

When purchasing medicines in a foreign pharmacy, customers need to be able to show an official ID, such as a passport or an identity card. For now, only adults can buy prescribed medicines for themselves.

Immediate reimbursement at the pharmacy is not available when buying medicines abroad. Customers will need to apply for reimbursements once they return to Finland.

Customers may still use European prescriptions in paper form when buying medicines in pharmacies outside the Finnish borders. The basic principles for dispensing prescriptions and buying medicines are the same for paper and electronic prescriptions.

The European electronic prescription was a project co-financed by the EU.

Inquiries:

Teemupekka Virtanen, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 370
Konstantin Hyppönen, IT architect at Kanta/Kela, tel. +358 50 551 6096
Viveca Bergman, Development Manager, National Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. +358 29 524 7402

Kanta.fi – giving consent in My Kanta service and other guidelines regarding prescriptions: