International Travel and Prescription Medicine
If you’re travelling overseas and you’re currently taking prescription medicine, be aware that not every country has the same laws or regulations regarding prescription medicine or drugs.
In fact, you might find that some prescription medicine that you can legally buy in Australia cannot be taken overseas unless it’s for your own personal use, and that taking those medicines into other countries without evidence that they have been prescribed to you could be considered a criminal offence with sever consequences.
What do you do if you need to travel with prescription medicine?
There’s always the option of not travelling with prescription medicine to avoid the legal issues, however if those medicines are necessary for your health and wellbeing, you’ll need to consider other options that won’t be harmful. So if you must travel with prescription medicine, you should:
- Read the travel advice with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and check with the embassies of the countries that you’re visiting to make sure your medicine is legal there. Familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs regarding entering and leaving those countries with prescription medicine.
- Obtain a letter or a prescription from your doctor detailing what the medicine is, how much you’ll be taking and stating the medicine is for your personal use or the personal use of someone with you (for example, a child). The letter or prescription must clearly state your name (or the name of the relevant person), and to avoid any confusion the name should be EXACTLY the same as what appears on the passport (even quote the passport number if applicable).
- Depending on the countries that you’re visiting, check whether you need to have the letter from your doctor or your prescription notarised by a notary public, authenticated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and authenticated by the embassies of the countries that you’re visiting. If the letter from your doctor or your prescription (from Australia) have not been notarised they may not be accepted or recognised in other countries.
- Leave the medicine in its original packaging so it can be easily identified, and make sure the medicine is clearly referred to in the letter from your doctor or your prescription.
Following these simple steps will give you the best chance of avoiding any unexpected problems, difficulties or issues when you travel to and from Australia to countries all over the world.
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This website is maintained by Phang Legal, an incorporated legal practice in Parramatta and a leading provider of public notary services to clients across Sydney. Extensive experience and low-cost fixed prices ensures quality services and satisfied clients.
Ern Phang is the solicitor director of Phang Legal and a public notary. Ern regularly writes about his experiences as a public notary and the kinds of issues faced by his clients in sending documents overseas.
This information is correct as at the date of publication (2010-04-15 09:00:46) and may not include subsequent changes.
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