Getting prescription medication in the European Union (EU)

Do you want to collect a prescription in another EU Member State? Ask your doctor for an international prescription. A medicine from the Netherlands is not always available in other EU countries. The medicine may also have a different name.

Last updated 20 December 2021

What should the international prescription state?

An international prescription must always state:  

  • your surname and first name;  
  • your date of birth.

In addition, your doctor’s details must appear on the prescription:  

  • surname and first name (in full);  
  • professional qualification;  
  • contact details and professional address (including the country);  
  • signature (handwritten or digital).

The prescription must also state details about the medicine:  

  • the generic name or substance name (not the brand name);  
  • the type (e.g. tablets or a solution); 
  • the quantity, concentration and dosage. 

Picking up your medicine at the pharmacy

You can collect your medicines from a pharmacy abroad with an international prescription

Ask your doctor for a paper copy of the prescription, as some pharmacies only accept paper prescriptions.  

Local rules for prescription medication 

Every EU Member State has its own rules for prescription medication. These rules are not the same in all countries. The pharmacist must adhere to the rules in their country. For example, in another country, you may get a smaller amount than what is stated on the prescription.

Laws and regulations

EU directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare 
EU commission Implementing Directive on the recognition of medical prescriptions issued in another Member State
EC regulation on the coordination of social security systems

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