Medicines

You can normally take the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you need with you when you travel.

The restrictions on the import of medicines depend on whether a medicine is classified as an over-the-counter medicine, a prescription medicine, a narcotic medicine or a veterinary medicine in Finland. The restrictions also depend on from which country you arrive in Finland. There are fewer restrictions within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Which countries are EEA countries?  Can medicines be ordered online?  Can medicines be sent?  Veterinary medicines


Advice for travellers

You are leaving Finland

You can normally take the prescription and over-the-counter medicines you need with you when you travel. However, most countries have restrictions on imports of medicines. Finnish Customs does not have any information on the provisions of other countries, so contact e.g. the embassy or authorities of the country of destination to find out about these provisions.

  • Take your prescriptions, a patient instruction sheet printed out by your doctor or a summary of your prescriptions with you.
  • Keep and carry the medicines in their original packaging in your hand luggage. If you are using a pill dispenser, take at least the medicine packaging with you.
  • You are only allowed to carry your own medicines that have been prescribed to you personally.

Read more about travellers’ medicines

Fimea |  Kanta.fi

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You are arriving in Finland from an EEA country

You may bring in, for your personal use, medicinal products (prescription medicines and over-the-counter medicines) in a quantity corresponding to no more than one year’s use.

  • Take your prescriptions, a patient instruction sheet printed out by your doctor or a summary of your prescriptions with you.
  • Keep and carry the medicines in their original packaging in your hand luggage. If you are using a pill dispenser, take at least the medicine packaging with you..
  • You are only allowed to carry your own medicines that have been prescribed to you personally.

Read more about travellers’ medicines

Fimea |  Kanta.fi

Exception: Medicines classified as narcotics constitute an exception. Read the instructions on Fimea’s website.

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You are arriving in Finland from outside the EEA

  • You may bring in, for your personal use, medicinal products in a quantity corresponding to no more than three months’ use.
  • You are not allowed to bring in non-registered homeopathic or anthroposophic preparations. Read more about herbal medicinal products and homeopathic preparations on Fimea’s website.

Proceed in the following way

  • Take your prescriptions, a patient instruction sheet printed out by your doctor or a summary of your prescriptions with you.
  • Keep and carry the medicines in their original packaging in your hand luggage. If you are using a pill dispenser, take at least the medicine packaging with you.
  • You are only allowed to carry your own medicines that have been prescribed to you personally.

Read more about travellers’ medicines

Fimea |  Kanta.fi

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You are carrying narcotic medicines or medicines that affect the central nervous system

Find out the provisions from the country of destination. If you travel to a Schengen country* carrying certain medicines that mainly affect the central nervous system (called PKV medicines in Finland), or medicines that contain narcotics or psychotropic substances, you must have a Schengen certificate. You’ll get the certificate from a pharmacy.

Read more in the Kanta service

If you don’t know whether your medicine is classified as narcotics, contact a pharmacy or Fimea.

*Schengen countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland

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You by medicines when travelling

Every country determines which preparations it considers medicinal substances. You need to check whether the purchase you’re planning is available without prescription in Finland or whether you need a prescription to bring it with you or whether the product is classified as a narcotic.

Were you taken ill when travelling abroad and got a prescription?

When you return to Finland, check that the medicinal product prescribed to you is classified as a medicine in Finland, and not e.g. as a narcotic. Also request a patient instruction sheet and the prescription in English from the doctor.

The import provisions depend on what kind of medicines you are bringing with you and from where. See more detailed instructions on purchasing medicines from abroad: 

Check also the value limits for tax free traveller imports on our website 

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Check these from Fimea

The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea is responsible for the supervision and classification of medicines. Check the restrictions and provisions on medicines from Fimea.


Customs inspection of medicines

The medicines and prescriptions shall be presented to Customs only on request.
Going through Customs

Questions about medicines

If the active ingredient of the product is mentioned in one of the sources below, the product is most likely a medicine. Further information on classifications is provided by the Finnish Medicines Agency, Fimea.

Other restrictions:


In Finland, prescriptions are accepted in Finnish or Swedish. If you have a prescription in some other language for medicines you have brought with you from your trip, it is your responsibility to explain the contents of the prescription to Customs, if needed.

If you know that you will be travelling abroad, request your prescription in English while still in Finland. You should also request your prescription in English if you are taken ill while travelling abroad and get a prescription to treat your illness.

If you are going on a trip to another EU or EEA country or to Switzerland and you know that you will buy medicines there, the prescribing professional can issue a prescription called a ‘Medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad’. You should also request such a prescription from the doctor if you are taken ill in one of these countries and need a prescription to treat your illness there. The prescription is in English. Contact your doctor for more detailed information.

More information:

 


No, you’re not. Travellers must carry their own medicines in their own luggage. Medicinal products dispensed on prescription are always personal and must be in the possession of the person to whom they have been prescribed.


A medicinal product always has a retail package and an enclosed patient information leaflet and possibly also a blister pack. You shall take them with you when you travel, because of easier supervision and identification of the product.


Yes, you can. However, you yourself have to request your doctor to issue to you a ‘Medical prescription for purchasing medication abroad’ accepted elsewhere in Europe. The medicinal product must also have a sales permit in the country where you are going to buy it.

As a traveller, you may bring medicinal products with you from the EEA in a quantity corresponding to no more than one year’s use. By mail you can only acquire medicinal products from the EEA in a quantity corresponding to no more than three months’ use.

For more information go to the website of the the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health European medical prescription (in Finnish) or to Choosehealthcare.fi.


Every country determines which substances it considers medicinal substances. In Finland, Fimea, the responsible authority, determines whether a substance or a preparation is a medicine and whether it requires a prescription. The following is taken into consideration in the classification: the composition and purpose of use of the substance, the details provided in the marketing of the substance as well as scientific data.


If you travel to a Schengen country carrying certain medicines that mainly affect the central nervous system (called PKV medicines in Finland), or medicines that contain narcotics or psychotropic substances, you must have a Schengen certificate. Show the medicines that you intend to take with you at the pharmacy, and the pharmacy personnel will tell you if you need a Schengen certificate for the medicines. By showing the Schengen certificate, a private person can prove that he or she needs the medicines containing narcotic or psychotropic substances when travelling in the Schengen Area.

You can obtain a Schengen certificate from a pharmacy. Read more about the Schengen certificate and how you can obtain it on Kanta.fi – Take your medications and prescriptions with you when travelling abroad.


If you buy preparations containing melatonin online, find out the dosage and the purpose of use of the product. In this way, you can make sure that you are not unknowingly committing a medicine offence. A melatonin preparation can be classified as a medicine or as a food supplement. Remember that you cannot order medicines online from outside the EEA.

Rule of thumb: if a preparation contains no more than 1.9 mg of melatonin per daily dose and its purpose is e.g. to reduce the time for sleep onset or to ease jet lag, it is usually classified as a food supplement. The purpose of use of the preparation is indicated in the label and in advertising. The Finnish Medicines Agency, Fimea, does not take any measures concerning such food supplements.

Please remember the following:

  • Preparations containing melatonin and indicated to be used for treating insomnia are always classified as prescription medicines, regardless of the daily dosage.
  • Preparations with the daily dosage of 2 mg or more of melatonin are always classified as prescription medicines.
  • If you order a preparation that is too strong or that is intended for treating insomnia, you will be guilty of ordering a prescription medicine without a prescription.

From outside the EEA, you are allowed to order medicinal products only in a quantity corresponding to no more than three months’ use; ordering a larger quantity requires a prescription or a patient instruction sheet issued by a doctor. You are not allowed to order any medicines from outside the EEA. Also note the sizes of Finnish packages of over-the-counter medicines, i.e. you can only order Burana from within the EEA in packages of 30 tablets, because in Finland, packages with more than 30 tablets require a prescription. Make sure that you are ordering the products from an operator with a sales permit for the medicines.

Read more about ordering medicines on Fimea’s website: Internet trade in medicines

 


There are restrictions on bringing in veterinary medicines, and you may only bring them in if you have your pet with you. If the medicine is a prescription medicine in Finland, you have to have the prescription with you. No prescription is required for bringing in over-the counter medicines.

You can only bring in medicines in a quantity corresponding to one month’s use. If the product can be bought in a store, make sure that the product does not contain biocides. If the product is a biocidal product, it must be registered and it cannot be mentioned in the list of prohibited active biocidal substances.

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Keywords Medicines

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