Prescription Drugs in Estonia

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Riin Rehemaa
Social Media & Community Manager

Living abroad comes with a fair amount of challenges. Learning the culture and adapting to a new lifestyle is a lot to take on. Having your health needs taken care of is one less thing to stress about. Knowing who to contact and where to go when problems arise offers a lot of comfort and security. Being informed is a little superpower we can all access. Knowing how the medical system works will be very helpful.

Illnesses usually come unexpectedly, and sometimes we need prescription drugs to tackle the health problem. You might be wondering how that works in Estonia. Next up we will go over everything you need to know about prescription medications in Estonia.

What is a digital prescription?

Estonia is a digitally advanced country, where a lot of things are done online. So are prescriptions. A digital prescription is an electronic drug prescription or a digital medical device prescription that a doctor prescribes for a patient on a computer. The digital prescription is not printed on paper but sent directly to the Prescription Center. The Prescription Center is an electronic database established for prescribing and processing prescriptions (medicines, baby food, medical devices). A paper prescription will be written out only in special circumstances when a digital one can’t be filed. That is the most common practice in Estonia. Salu’s doctors can also prescribe medications or renew an old prescription.

You can view all your prescriptions for medicines and medical devices and check their validity on Haigekassa’s e-services. You must log in to the portal to view your information. By default, you can see prescriptions written in the last 6 months but you can change the timeframe yourself. You can view your minor children’s prescriptions on the patient portal digilugu.ee. From the same portal, you can also see your referrals, test results and medical records, and you can also fill out your health declaration. That is why Estonians love technology – everything gets done in a fast and convenient way!

Buying a digital prescription drug

You can buy your own prescription drugs or have someone else do it for you. But you do have the option to limit the right to buy out the medicine while the prescription is being prepared by your doctor. All prescriptions are otherwise automatically public, but this status can be changed by the doctor if you find it necessary. The different types of prescriptions are:

  • Private prescription – only the patient has the right to buy the prescription from the pharmacy.
  • Authorized prescription – the prescription can be purchased from the pharmacy by the patient or by people who have been authorized for this purpose in the patient portal.
  • Public prescription – anyone who knows the patient’s personal identification number can buy the prescription from the pharmacy. The buyer must also provide his/her identity document, and his/her personal code will be saved in the prescription centre.

When you are going to the pharmacy to pick up your drugs, you have to have a document with a picture and personal code with you, such as an ID card, passport or Estonian driver’s license. A doctor will file a digital prescription that a pharmacist can find through your personal code. If the medicine is bought for another person, you must also know their personal identification number.

Estonian digital prescription in another country

In most cases, it is still not possible to buy medicines abroad with a digital prescription that is issued in Estonia. If you plan to go abroad and want to buy prescription drugs while there, ask your doctor for a paper prescription. A prescription for a medicine prescribed in Estonia is valid in all European Union countries. But you have to keep in mind that the prescribed medicine may not be available in another country, and it may also have a different name from the one your prescription states.

Estonian digital prescription is valid in Finnish, Polish, Portuguese and Croatian pharmacies. The same rules apply when going to buy a prescription, you need to have an ID card or passport with you. Other EU countries will gradually join the cross-border digital prescription project, and soon it will be possible to buy medicines with a digital prescription in other EU countries as well. Meanwhile, in a case of emergency, it is still possible to get your prescription drug through your doctors help in other EU countries as well. Consult with your healthcare provider or with Salu’s doctor and your prescription will be taken care of for you. You can find more information about cross-border digital prescriptions on the website of the Center for Health and Welfare Information Systems.

The payment process for medications is the same as for paper prescription drugs. For example, in Finland, a person insured in Estonia must first pay the full price for the medicine prescribed to them in Estonia. Later, it is possible to request a refund of the amount paid for the medicine from the Public Health Insurance Fund (Haigekassa). An application for reimbursement of the cost of the prescription medicine must be filed with a purchase receipt for the medicine. The documents can be sent to the Public Health Insurance Fund by mail or taken to the customer service office.

For any questions regarding prescription drugs – whether you need more assistance, you need to get a new prescription or renew an old one, Salu is here to help you out! Our medical team is available every day to offer guidance and advice as well.

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