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Updated : 08/07/2016

health

Presenting a prescription abroad

A prescription delivered by a doctor in your country is valid in all EU countries. However, a medicine prescribed in one country might not be available or it may have another name.

You can ask for your doctor to give you a prescription to use in another EU country, also known as a "cross-border prescription".

Some medicines may not be authorised for sale or may not be available in another country, even within the EU.

A prescription with the right information

There is no specific form or format for a prescription you will use in another EU country. In most cases, the prescription you would use in your home country should already contain enough information for you to use it in another EU country. It has to contain at least the following information:

  • Patient details: surname and first name (both written in full), and date of birth
  • Date of issue of the prescription
  • Details of the prescribing doctor: surname and first name (written in full), professional qualification, direct contact details, work address (including the country), and signature (written or digital)
  • Details of the prescribed product: its common name (rather than the brand name, which may be different in another country), format (tablet, solution, etc), quantity, strength and dosage.

If you think you'll need to get your prescription dispensed abroad, or if you are given a prescription abroad that you will need to get dispensed in your home country, check that the doctor has included all this information. That way you can be sure that a pharmacist in another EU country can easily understand the prescription and correctly identify the medicine you are requesting and its dose.

Prescriptions are subject to the rules of the country where they are dispensed. This means that a pharmacist will apply national rules when dispensing your medicine – for example, you may not be allowed the same number of days' dosage.

E-prescriptions

If your doctor has given you an e-prescription you need to make sure you ask for a paper copy if you plan to use the prescription in another EU country, as the e-prescription may not be recognised outside your home country.

 

Sample story

Getting medicine abroad using a prescription from home

Anna from Germany is going to work in Sweden for 6 months. She needs to get her sleeping pill dispensed while she's there, so asks her doctor for a prescription she can use in another EU country. She can use the prescription from her German doctor to get more sleeping pills from the pharmacy, even while living abroad.

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In this case, the 28 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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