Prescriptions abroad: expenses and reimbursements
UK decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU: More information
For the time being, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK:
When buying medicine on prescription abroad, you might have to pay the full cost up front, even if you don't at home. If you are entitled to reimbursement you can claim it from your health insurer when you get home.
This depends on your healthcare cover and the rules of the EU country you're visiting.
Using the EHIC at the pharmacy
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitles you to receive necessary treatment with the same rights to health care as people insured in the country you are in. If you have a prescription from the country you are in, you should present it together with the EHIC when you go to the pharmacy.
This means that you will pay the same rate at the pharmacy as someone who was insured and living in that country. In some EU countries this may mean that you won't pay anything, while in others you may be required to pay a certain amount towards the cost of your prescription.
If you don't have an EHIC or you have a cross-border prescription
You will most likely have to pay the full cost of a product dispensed on prescription at the pharmacy if:
- you don't have an EHIC or have forgotten to take your EHIC abroad with you, or
- you have private travel insurance, and
- you have a prescription from another EU country (cross-border prescription)
Make sure you ask the pharmacy for a receipt. You should then request reimbursement from your insurer when you return to your home country.
You may have to pay for your prescription medicine
Federica has a prescription from her doctor in Italy for allergy medicine that she thinks she might need during her summer holiday in France. In Italy the medicine is dispensed free of charge.
During her holiday in France, Federica takes her Italian prescription to the pharmacy to get her allergy medicine. She is surprised when the pharmacist asks her to pay EUR 25 for her medicine.
If you have a prescription from another EU country and you want to have it dispensed abroad, you will most likely have to pay the full price of the medicine at the pharmacy. However, you may be entitled to reimbursement when you get home.