Medicines are substances used in treating or preventing diseases. Affordable access to safe, effective and quality medicines is a part of your right to health.

Medicines and the right to health

Medicines (also called medicaments and drugs) are presented in different pharmaceutical forms: e.g., tablets, capsules, solutions for injection, creams, drops, gels, syrups, etc. to be administered in different ways.

The highest attainable standard of health cannot be attained without medicines. We use them in all aspects of health care:

  • to cure, reverse, or prevent disease
  • to ease the symptoms
  • to diagnose the medical condition

Thus, access to medicines is an essential component of the right to health.

In Estonia, prescription medicines as well as other medicinal products such as nutritional foods or food supplements used for treatment of congenital metabolism disorders are partially covered by the state in case the person is insured with the national health insurance.

Requirements for registered medicines

In order to ensure that medicines comply with the quality and safety standards and are effective, they need to be registered.  In Estonia, registered medicines for human use are included in the Medicinal Product Register.

note All distributed medicines must include instructions for use

Medicines may be falsified and sold illegally, just like many other products in the market. Such medicines are not only ineffective, but may often be harmful to your health.  To ensure the authenticity of medicines, the EU has adopted a directive prescribing that each pack of medicinal product must have:

1. a unique identifier (sequence of numeric or alphanumeric characters) 

2. an anti-tampering device (e.g. seal from a manufacturer)

Medicines & Human rights

Affordable access to safe, effective and quality medicines is a part of the right to health. Many people still lack access even to essential medicines

Based on the European Social Charter, anyone without adequate resources has the right to social and medical assistance. Thus, the State also has the legal obligation to provide compensated prescription medicines.

About this section

This section of the Guide will explain what prescription medicines (including prescription medicines compensated by the state), and non-prescription medicines are and the advertising requirements for medication.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education