Active ingredient based prescription
What is an active ingredient?
Medications consist of several substances: active ingredients and excipients. The active ingredient is the ingredient that acts on your body. The remaining substances are those that hold the medication together, give it a suitable form, colour, shape, flavor, etc.
What is a generic name prescription?
When prescribing a medication, the name of the active ingredient contained in the medication is used on the prescription. All doctors are required to prescribe medications based on active ingredients, i.e. write generic name prescriptions. Your doctor will write on the prescription the name of the active ingredient (generic name) contained in the medication instead of its brand name.
This way you can choose among the medications containing the same active ingredients the one with the most suitable price for you, because if the pharmacy is selling the same active ingredient-containing medicines by several pharmaceutical manufacturers, the pharmacist must inform you of all respective medications available and their prices.
Medications containing the same active ingredient are of equal quality and equally safe!
Always ask your doctor and pharmacist if your medication can be replaced by the one with the same active ingredient but at a cheaper price!
A doctor may prescribe to the patient a medication with specific brand name, if it is medically indicated. In such case, the patient cannot choose from generic medications available in the pharmacy but has to buy the name-brand medication prescribed. The doctor should inform the patient about the possibilities and conditions for medication substitution. If the prescription has been marked “Not to be substituted”, the patient must be informed of the fact that substitution is prohibited and the reasons thereof.
Check out all the discounts on your prescriptions on the state portal eesti.ee . Please note! Under "Patient’s possible cost saving," you will see the part of the paid price that is payable only if the retail price of the medication you have purchased exceeds the reference price. When using medications rationally, that is when buying most affordable medications, patients can reduce the amount of money they spend on medications.
The regulation sets out the conditions and procedure for the issue of prescriptions and for the dispensation of medications by pharmacies, which are as follows:
- Your doctor will prescribe the active ingredient needed and not the brand name of the particular medication (the doctor issues a generic name prescription).
- In exceptional cases, the doctor may prescribe a specific brand name, provided that this is medically justified. The doctor is obliged to explain to the patient why he/she considers it necessary to use the particular manufacturer's medicinal product.
- If your doctor prescribes a specific brand name, your pharmacist should not substitute it with another equivalent medication.
- If the prescription is issued using an active ingredient, the pharmacist must first suggest to the patient the medication with the lowest price.