Reimbursement of medicines purchased abroad

Whether you can get a reimbursement for any medicines you buy abroad depends on such things as whether you bought them to treat an unforeseen illness or as part of a decision to travel abroad to obtain treatment. Another point that will be considered is whether you bought the medicines in another EU/EEA country or Switzerland, or in some other country.

If you are living temporarily in another EU/EEA country or in Switzerland and you must see a doctor because of an unexpected illness, you can claim a reimbursement from the local health insurance institution. In order to do this, you must carry a valid European Health Insurance Card with you. If you do not claim reimbursement in your destination country or are not eligible for one, you can claim reimbursement from Kela afterwards. You can be reimbursed for up to three months' worth of medication at one time.

If you travel to another EU/EEA country or to Switzerland to purchase medicines for the treatment of an illness, you cannot claim reimbursement from the health insurance institution of the destination country, but you can claim it afterwards from Kela. You can be reimbursed for up to three months' worth of medication at one time.

If you are staying temporarily in some other country - not an EU/EEA country or Switzerland - and you find yourself having to purchase medication for an illness, you can claim reimbursement afterwards from Kela. You can be reimbursed for up to three months' worth of medication at one time.

Reimbursement is not available for medication purchased from abroad over the Internet, by mail, etc.

Amount and payment

Reimbursement is only provided for necessary medication used in the treatment of an illness. To qualify for reimbursement, the medicine must be equivalent to a medicine available and reimbursable in Finland. Whether it is equivalent is determined by reference to the pharmaceutical dosage form, substance and strength.

The amount of the reimbursement is affected by the price and package size of the medicine purchased abroad and by the package size and price (or reference price) of the corresponding medicine available and reimbursable in Finland. Reimbursement is available after meeting a specified initial deductible.

  • If the corresponding medicine is included in the Finnish reference price system, the purchase price, or the reference price confirmed in Finland, is used as the basis of reimbursement.
  • If the corresponding medicine is not included in the Finnish reference price system, the purchase price or the price confirmed in Finland is used as the basis of reimbursement.
  • If you are entitled to reimbursement at a special (higher) rate, you can get the special reimbursement also for medicines purchased abroad, if the corresponding medicine in Finland is reimbursable at the special rate.
  • If you have reached your annual out-of-pocket maximum for medicine costs, you can get an additional reimbursement for medicines purchased abroad if the conditions for reimbursement are met.
  • Reimbursement is not available for medicines or pharmaceuticals purchased abroad that would not be reimbursed if purchased in Finland. For up-to-date price information on medicines reimbursable in Finland, see the Medicinal Products Database.

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