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Cancer treatment drugs and reimbursements

The Social Insurance Institution Kela reimburses the costs of prescription drugs and part of the costs of emollients and clinical nutrients prescribed for treating illnesses.

Reimbursements are made at pharmacies when you present your Kela card.

If you want to purchase medicines from abroad, you can be reimbursed for them through the local sickness insurance institution or afterwards from Kela. In Finland, you can use a signed prescription for buying drugs in EU and EEA countries and Switzerland. This applies to drugs with similar pharmaceutical ingredients that are approved in Finland for reimbursement. You first have to pay for the drugs yourself and later apply for reimbursement from Kela.

Reimbursements for medicines are paid according to three reimbursement rates: a basic reimbursement, a lower special reimbursement and a higher special reimbursement. Most prescription drugs come under the basic reimbursement rate. With some cancer drugs, the basic reimbursements are limited. In such cases the basic reimbursement is obtained from Kela using a separate Medical Certificate B. Special reimbursement starts as soon as the medical certificate is submitted to Kela.

At pharmacies you can change a medicine prescribed by your doctor to a cheaper generic version. This is possible with medicines that contain the same pharmaceuticals. Such medicines must also be similar in terms of effectiveness and safety.

The copayment for prescription drugs has an annual limit. Kela keeps a check on this using information received from pharmacies. Kela will inform you once the limit has been exceeded. There is more about the annual copayment limit on the Kela website:

Reimbursements for medicine expences (Kela)(opens in a new window)


Kela website

Association of Finnish Cancer Patients guide to social security – in Finnish: Suomen Syöpäpotilaat ry. Syöpäpotilaan sosiaaliopas 2015. Helsinki, 2015.