Cross-border prescriptions


Under European Union (EU) rules, a prescription from a doctor in one EU country is valid in all other EU countries and the European Economic Area (EEA) – as long as it contains certain information. The EEA includes the member states of the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. However, some medicines may not be available in other countries or they may have other names.

Prescriptions that can be used in other EU counties are called cross-border prescriptions.

Can I use my prescription from Ireland in another country?

If you have a medical prescription from a health professional (doctor, dentist or nurse) registered in Ireland it is valid in the United Kingdom (UK) and EU/EEA if it contains certain information (see below).

Can I use my prescription from another country in Ireland?

If you have a medical prescription from a health professional in the EU or EEA, the prescription is valid in all other EU or EEA countries if it contains certain information (see below).

If you have a medical prescription from a health professional registered in the UK it will be valid in Ireland, if it contains certain information.

Medical prescriptions issued by a UK-registered doctor, using an online service, to someone living in Ireland is not valid in Ireland.

Emailing prescriptions

In Ireland, doctors can email your prescription to your pharmacy using a secure system called Healthmail. This system does not work if you are collecting your medication from a pharmacy outside Ireland.

If you need to get your prescription medicine dispensed in another country, or if you are given a prescription abroad that you need to fill in Ireland, you need to:

  • Ask your doctor for a paper copy of your prescription
  • Check that the doctor has included all the necessary information (see below).

ePrescription services are being introduced across the EU but they are not available in all countries.

What information must be included on the prescription?

There is no specific form or format needed to use a prescription in another EU/EEA country or the UK. In general, prescriptions cannot currently be emailed. The prescription must include information about the patient, doctor or other health professional and medical product(s) prescribed including:

Your details as the patient

  • Your first name and surname written in full (not initials)
  • Your date of birth

The details of the health professional writing the prescription including their:

  • First name and surname written in full
  • Professional qualification
  • Contact details (email and telephone or fax including international prefix)
  • Work address (including the country)
  • Signature (written in ink in their handwriting or by electronic signature)
  • Date the prescription is issued

The prescription should also include details of the prescribed product including the:

  • Common name instead of the brand name. (If a specific brand is medically necessary the prescription should include a brief statement of the reason.) In the case of biological medicinal products, brand names may be used.
  • Format of the product, for example, tablets or solution.
  • Quantity and strength.
  • Dosage or instructions for use.

Not all of these details are needed for a prescription in Ireland so, if you will be using a prescription in another country, you should check that the doctor has included all the information listed above.

Prescription rules in different countries

Your prescription is subject to the rules of the country where you are getting the medicine. For example, in some countries a prescription may only be accepted in the pharmacy 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. You can check if your medicine is available for sale in another EEA member state with the national contact point for cross-border healthcare in each country.

Certain products should not be prescribed by health professionals in another EEA state for dispensing in Ireland. This includes controlled drugs such as strong, opioid-based painkillers and certain sedatives.

Travelling with your drugs and medicines

You need to check what rules apply to taking certain medicines, such as prescribed narcotics and psychotropic substances:

  • Out of Ireland
  • Into the country you're going to

You can check the rules of the country you are travelling to by contacting the Irish embassy in that country.

Travelling to Ireland from the Schengen area

If you are a resident in the Schengen Area and are travelling to Ireland with a medicine or drug on the Schedule II or Schedule III, you must carry a Schengen Article 75 Certificate.

You can get an Article 75 Certificate from your own country’s ‘competent authority’. You should ask your embassy who the competent authority is. Depending on the country, this could be a Ministry of Health, external agency, pharmacist or doctor.

You need a separate certificate for each prescribed controlled drug. You may bring up to a 30-day supply for your own personal use.

If you have any further queries about your personal medication, you can email the Health Products Regulatory Authority at:

Read more information from the Department of Health. You can also read information from the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

Page edited: 5 January 2024