Cross-border prescriptions

Introduction

If you have a medical prescription from a doctor in the European Economic Area (EEA), the prescription is valid in all other EEA countries if it contains certain information. The EEA includes the member states of the European Union as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Rules

There is no specific form or format required in order to be able to use a prescription in another EEA country but the prescription must include certain information about the patient, doctor and medical product prescribed.

Details of the patient

  • Surname and first name written in full (not initials)
  • Date of birth

Details of the prescribing health professional

  • Surname and first name written in full
  • Professional qualification
  • Details for direct contact (email and telephone or fax including international prefix)
  • Work address (including the country)
  • Signature
  • Date the prescription is issued

Details of the prescribed product

  • The common name should be used rather than the brand name, which may be different in another country. (If a specific brand is medically necessary the prescription should include a brief statement of the reason.) There are International Nonproprietary Names recommended by the World Health Organisation which should be used where possible. In the case of biological medicinal products, brand names may be used.
  • The format of the product, for example, whether it is in the form of tablets or solution.
  • The quantity and strength.
  • The dosage or instructions for use.

Not all of these details are required for a prescription in Ireland so, if you intend to use a prescription in another country, you should check that the doctor has included all the necessary information listed above.

Prescriptions are subject to the rules of the country where they are dispensed. For example, in some countries a prescription may only be accepted for a certain time period after it is written.

Some medicines may not be authorised for sale or may not be available in another country within the EEA. To find out if your medicine is available in other member states, you can check with the national contact point for cross-border healthcare.

If an item is required to have a special medical prescription it should not be issued for use in another member state. This applies to controlled drugs such as strong, opioid-based painkillers and certain sedatives.

Page edited: 28 November 2016