Spain makes it easier to get cross-border prescription meds

The Local Spain
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Spain makes it easier to get cross-border prescription meds
Spain makes it easier to get cross-border prescription meds. Photo: LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / AFP

If you have to take regular medications, you’ve probably already experienced the problems it can cause when travelling abroad. All this is about to change, however, as Spain becomes part of the EU's new e-Health network .


Whether you take medications for a long-term health problem or you just have to take them for a week or two, taking pills, injections or other medicines across borders can prove difficult.

You may have had to get a doctor’s letter to take to the airport or perhaps you run out of vital medicines while on holiday and have had lots of problems getting hold of them.  

Thankfully, this is now all in the past for some EU citizens and residents, due to the new European e-Health network, which the Spanish Health Ministry announced it had officially joined last week.

The new project enables inhabitants of neighbouring European countries to access their medical records and their electronic prescriptions within Spain and vice versa.  

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The e-Health network has three main priorities. Firstly, it enables citizens to have secure access to their health data, even across borders. It also means more personalised care through shared European data, allowing researchers and other professionals to pool resources across the EU.  Thirdly, it allows citizens to be more empowered with access to digital tools. 

This benefits, not only Spanish residents travelling abroad but also the millions of tourists who visit Spain every year.  

An added benefit means that it won't only make it easier for those travelling abroad, but also for those travelling to different regions in Spain too.  


Spanish residents will now have the possibility of accessing a summary of their health history, despite not being in their city or country of residence, as well as an e-prescription.  

The European electronic prescription service is already active in Andalusia, Aragón, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia, Extremadura, Galicia, Navarra, the Basque Country, Ceuta and Melilla.  

Patients from these regions can obtain their prescriptions from participating pharmacies in Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Poland and Portugal, which already have this service too.  

“Asturias and Murcia are in the testing phase, as well as Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Ireland, Sweden, Latvia and Lithuania”, explained the Ministry of Health.  

Creating the e-Health network has not been an easy task, and hundreds of agreements have had to be signed with other European countries and companies in order for this idea to become a reality.


Spain is one of the pioneering countries in the initiative and offered itself up as a guinea pig in order to verify the effectiveness of the project.

As Spain is such as popular country for tourism, the Health Ministry also wanted to make sure that those from abroad could be cared for here and have access to the medicines they need.

"Patients from countries that have these services can be cared for by the Spanish NHS. They will have access to pre-existing clinical information and prescriptions for medicines prescribed in their countries of origin, in any pharmacies of the aforementioned regions", they stated on their website.  

Now that the agreement between the Ministry of Health and the EU has been formalised, it will be up to the health services in each region to implement and manage it, therefore integration will be carried out gradually.  


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