Map (of the EU, EEC and Schengen Area)
Before you travel
Most countries have restrictions on imports of medicines. Find out what the import restrictions for medicines are and what documents you need by contacting e.g. the authorities or embassy of the destination country. Finnish Customs does not provide information about the import restrictions of other countries. Bear in mind that you are only allowed to carry your own medicines that have been prescribed to you personally. Read more: kanta.fi – Take your prescriptions with you when travelling abroad
When your return
When you return from your travels, you may bring medicines for your personal use, as long as you take into account the import restrictions and regulations that apply. The restrictions vary depending on the country of import as well as on the classification of the product. The restrictions are stricter when it comes to, for example, medicines classified as narcotics.
Remember that you are not allowed to carry medicines prescribed to someone else.
Checklist for travellers carrying medicines
- Find out the restrictions that apply and the documents that are required in the destination country before you travel. Finnish Customs does not provide information about the import restrictions of other countries.
- Take your prescriptions, a patient instruction sheet printed out by your doctor or a Finnish-language summary of your prescriptions with you.
- Keep and carry the medicines in their original packaging.
- You may bring back medicines only for your personal use, and, if requested, you must be able to prove this with, for example, a printout of an electronic prescription, a prescription, or with a certificate or a patient instruction sheet issued by your doctor. If the medicine has been dispensed with a prescription stored in the pharmacy, you can get a copy of it from the pharmacy.
- Find out in advance from Fimea if the product you're bringing is classed as a medicine in Finland and whether it requires a prescription.
- A medicinal product bought outside of Finland must have a marketing authorisation in the country where it was bought (= the medicine is legally available).
- The medicinal product must have been acquired from a supplier authorised to carry out retail supply of medicines in the country of purchase.
- Medicines from the EEA may be imported in an amount corresponding to a maximum of one year’s use, and, from outside the EEA, in an amount corresponding to a maximum of three months’ use.
- Medicinal products classified as narcotics can be imported for personal use from a Schengen country in an amount corresponding to a maximum of 30 days’ use, and, from other countries, in an amount corresponding to a maximum of 14 days’ use. The necessity of the medicines must be proven with a prescription as well as a certificate granted by a pharmacy to medicines that have a marketing authorisation in Finland.
Points to consider
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.
- Fimea’s decision on a list of medicines (Finlex; in Finnish and Swedish, substance names also listed in English)
- List of medicines only dispensed on prescription (Fimea, in Finnish)
- List of International Nonproprietary Names for Pharmaceutical Substances recommended by the WHO, the so-called INN list (Fimea)
- Substance classification system maintained by the WHO, so-called ATC codes (WHO)
- Medicine search (FimeaWeb) (Fimea)
- Classification decisions taken by Fimea (Fimea, in Finnish)
- Psychoactive substances banned from the consumer market (Finlex, in Finnish and Swedish)
- List of doping substances, Government Decree 705/2002 (Finlex, in Finnish and Swedish)
- List of narcotic substances, Government Decree 543/2008 (Finlex, in Finnish and Swedish)
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.
You must always carry some proof with the medicines based on which they can be identified. Travellers should always bring along the original packaging of the medicine or the enclosed patient information leaflet. This also facilitates controls.
Read more: Medicines
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.
Read more: Medicines
When you arrive from a country in the EEA
- A private person may bring in medicinal products (prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, herbal medicinal products, homeopathic or anthroposophic preparations that are registered or that are non-registered but have a marketing authorisation) in a quantity corresponding to no more than one year’s use.
- Medicinal products classified as narcotics form an exception to this rule.
When you arrive from a country outside the EEA
- A private person may bring in no more than three months’ supply of medicinal products for his or her personal use.
- You are not allowed to bring in non-registered homeopathic or anthroposophic preparations from a country outside the EEA.
- Medicinal products classified as narcotics form an exception to this rule.
When you arrive from a Schengen country
When arriving from a Schengen country, a traveller may, for personal use, bring in a medicinal product that is classified as a narcotic in an amount that corresponds to a maximum of 30 days’ use.
When importing a medicinal product that is classified as a narcotic from a Schengen country, the traveller must be able to present a so-called Schengen certificate for the medicine. The certificate and the prescription based on which the medicinal product was dispensed must have been issued in the primary country of residence of the traveller. A Schengen certificate can be obtained from a pharmacy in Finland.
When you arrive from a non-Schengen country
From a non-Schengen country, a passenger may bring in a medicinal product that is classified as a narcotic in an amount that corresponds to a maximum of 14 days’ use.
The maximum permitted amount of active substance in narcotic medicine brought to Finland is as follows:
- buprenorphine for the treatment of pain: 48 milligrams from a Schengen country, 22.4 milligrams from other countries;
- buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid withdrawal or for replacement therapy: 480 milligrams from a Schengen country, 224 milligrams from other countries; and
- methadone: 1200 milligrams from a Schengen country, 560 milligrams from other countries.
Before a private person can bring in a second batch of the same or equivalent medicinal product classified as a narcotic, a period at least as long as the time it takes to use the amount of medicine imported on the previous occasion must have passed. It is prohibited to simultaneously bring medicinal products which contain narcotic substances which, when taken together, may cause a clinically significant and dangerous combined effect according to the product information.
You are not allowed to acquire or receive a medicinal product containing a narcotic substance by post from outside Finland.
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 you prescriptions with you when travelling abroad.
You are not allowed to acquire or receive medicinal products by post from a country outside the EEA
You are only allowed to acquire medicinal products from within the EEA
A private person may receive, for his or her personal use, prescription and non-prescription medicinal products from another EEA country in a quantity corresponding to no more than three months’ use, provided that:
- the medicinal product has a marketing authorisation in the state from where it was acquired, or, if the medicinal product does not have a marketing authorisation, it was purchased with a prescription appropriately issued by a person authorised to do so;
- the medicinal product has been acquired from a supplier authorised to carry out retail supply of medicines in the country of purchase; and
- the person is able to prove that the medicinal product is intended for his or her personal treatment. For prescription medicines, this can be done by presenting the prescription or medical certificate appropriately issued by a person authorised to do so, or in the case of an electronic prescription, by presenting a summary print-out that can be obtained from the pharmacy.
- If you have ordered medicinal products by post from the EEA, you must have the required documents before receiving the products.
- Self-medication products, i.e. over-the-counter medicines: For every medicinal product, a prescription status is defined, indicating whether the medicine in question may be supplied without a prescription and the maximum package size in which the medication can be purchased without a prescription. When you order medicines online, make sure you know the package sizes and the prescription status of the medicinal product. More information from Fimea: fimea.fi – Self-medication products
When ordering medicines online or from an online pharmacy, make sure that the pharmacy is a legalised distance seller of medicines. Online services that operate in the European Union can be identified by a pan-European logo. Read more: fimea.fi – Common European logo for online services (in Finnish and Swedish).
- You are not allowed to acquire or receive medicinal products containing a narcotic substance by post from outside Finland.
- You are not allowed to acquire or receive veterinary medicinal products by post from outside Finland.
Sending medicines from Finland
The sender is responsible for finding out what the current export restrictions are, as well as the import restrictions of the country of destination. You can get more information about the restrictions e.g. from the country’s embassy or authorities. Finnish Customs does not provide information about the import restrictions of other countries.
Sending medicines to Finland
Private persons are not allowed to send medicines to Finland. That is, a person staying in Finland cannot receive medicines or medicinal products from another private person.
A traveller may only carry his or her personal medicines. The traveller may not carry medicines prescribed to someone else.
Veterinary medicinal products imported by a private person
- A private person arriving from outside Finland is allowed to bring in veterinary medicines intended for the treatment of pets in an amount that corresponds to a maximum of one month’s use.
- The medicines must always be imported at the same time with the animal to be treated.
- The veterinary medicines must neither contain narcotic substances nor be vaccines or other immunological veterinary medicinal products.
- Travellers are not allowed to import medicines intended for the treatment of food-producing animals to Finland. Food-producing animals include horses and other hoofed animals, bovine animals, pigs, reindeer, sheep, goats and poultry. Wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and snails, fish in farms and other aquatic organisms cultivated for food and bees used for the production of honey are also considered as food-producing animals.
- Acquiring or receiving veterinary medicines by post or other means from outside of Finland is prohibited.
Products such as vitamins, liniments and different types of tonics often give rise to problems and ambiguities when trying to classify them. Some of them may be classed as veterinary medicines in Finland. The line between a medicinal and non-medicinal product is often drawn based on the concentrations of active substances. When in doubt, contact Fimea to find out if the product can be imported. Tick control products intended for pets can also be subject to restrictions, as they may contain biocides or substances regarded as medicines. You should find out the active substances in these products. More information on biocides: tukes.fi or fimea.fi.
Medicinal products brought in by a veterinary form an exception to this rule. Read more: fimea.fi - Veterinary
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