How prescriptions for medicinal products work in Sweden
(e-prescriptions) and paper prescriptions
To be able to purchase a prescribed medicinal product, you must have a valid prescription from the health services. Pharmacists in Swedish pharmacies are not permitted to issue or renew any type of prescription.
There are two types of prescription for medicinal products: electronic prescriptions (e-prescriptions) and paper prescriptions. Ninety nine percent of all prescriptions in Sweden are e-prescriptions, but paper prescriptions are also sometimes used.
If you receive a paper prescription issued in Sweden, you can purchase the prescribed medicinal product from any pharmacy of your choice. If you receive an e-prescription as an EU citizen without a Swedish personal identity number, you can choose, in consultation with your doctor, which pharmacy the prescription should be sent to, and the prescription can then only be collected from that pharmacy.
Will my prescription from another EU Member State be valid in Sweden?
Whether or not your prescription from another EU Member State is valid for dispensation in Sweden depends on whether it is an e-prescription or a paper prescription. In order for your prescription to be valid in Sweden, it must be a paper prescription for cross-border use, see information below for the minimum requirements of such a prescription.
Prescriptions from other EU Member States for medicinal products which are classified as narcotics or banned substances may not be dispensed in Sweden. This applies to certain sleeping pills, certain painkillers and certain medicines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example.
In order to use your paper prescription cross-border, it must contain certain information. The prescription will usually contain the information that is needed, but it is a good idea to check. Information that must be stated in the prescription:
- your first name and surname and date of birth
- date of issue of the prescription
- the doctor’s first name and surname, professional title, contact information, work address (including the country) and signature.
- the generic name of the medicinal product (as medicinal products may be sold under different brand names), the format of the medicinal product (tablet, solution, etc.), quantity, strength and dosage.
In order to be able to purchase medicinal products as per your prescription, the prescribed medicinal product must be available in Sweden. Which medicinal products are available may differ between countries. The pharmacist must also be able to understand and interpret the information on the prescription, and judge that it is a valid prescription.
If you have an electronic prescription, you must ask your doctor to issue you with a paper prescription for cross-border use instead, see information above for the minimum requirements of such a prescription. Please note that it is not considered a valid paper prescription if you receive the prescription via email from your doctor and print it out yourself.
E-prescriptions across national borders
Swedish pharmacies cannot currently handle foreign e-prescriptions. However, Sweden is participating in a European initiative in order to eventually enable the handling of European e-prescriptions from participating countries in Sweden.
How do I get a new prescription in Sweden?
If you need to get a new prescription in Sweden, go to the healthcare services. If you call the telephone number 1177, you will receive healthcare advice from a nurse and information on where you can go to receive care.