What you need to know about travelling with medications 21



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Did you know that restrictions apply to medicines and medical devices when you’re leaving or coming into Australia, and that different restrictions may apply in other countries?

Prescription medicines can be a big stress for travellers who have pre-existing health conditions. Here’s how to avoid any issues overseas:

1. Talk to your GP or travel doctor

Before you travel, discuss your medications with your doctor, and see a travel doctor if your trip necessitates additional vaccines and drugs. They can give you evidence of prescription, as well as a small booklet with a list of medications.

2. Check the embassy of the country you are visiting to ensure the medicine is legal there

There will be essential information available for you.

3. Carry a letter from your doctor

This should include the name of the medicine, how much you are taking or sending, and state that the medicine is for your personal use.

4. Keep your medications in their original boxes

Don’t take your pills out of their boxes: they need to display your name and dosage requirements.

5. Carry extra

In case you aren’t able to get the same medication overseas (assume you won’t), it’s best to get as much as you can to last your trip, and a bit longer in case of emergencies.

6. Only pack your own medications

Carrying PBS medicines that are not for your own personal use or for the use of someone travelling from Australia with you is illegal and can attract a penalty of up to $5000 and/or 2 years imprisonment. Customs authorities have the power to detain any medication which they suspect is being illegally exported.



7. You can carry needles and syringes, but only with a letter

These are classified as forbidden items, and you need to carry a doctor’s letter to allow you to take them.


8. Cold medications

If your medicine needs to be kept cold before the flight, contact the airline to see if this is possible in flight. Otherwise, gel-based ice packs or flasks stay cold for a long time, or you can take some snap-lock bags and ask the flight attendants for ice.

9. Pack in your carry-on

Don’t pack medication in checked luggage or send it by post to your destination since it may get lost.


Tell us, do you take any essential pills and devices when you go overseas?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. You can take all medications in a Webster pack that is legal and doesn’t take up as much room chemist can make the packs up for your entire holiday

    1 REPLY
    • Be careful with webster packs as depending on how many tablets you take and how long you are going for they can take up more room than the tablets in the original boxes.

  2. We saw our doctor who wrote a list of prescribed medication and he also checked legalities in the countries we visited. Also checked any vacines needed. Too easy.

  3. Yes i make sure that i can look after myself. I take medication on scripts, overcthe counter meds also. But my doctor makes a list of all i have and i pack that inca clear plastic bag with all the things i need. No problem

  4. Have only ever travelled to Australia & both times obeyed the Rules about medications etc… I was never asked to show them, the drs letter etc , on entry to both Aus & NZ …waste of space, time but wouldnt take the chance of not declaring them!

  5. Yes Liz have done the same got letter last week as I am going to Dubai and then onto Europe have never had a problem an always keep them in there original pack and in my carry on luggage.

  6. We always travel with a list from our doctor. If you need to refrigerate your medication check with your accommodation when you book that you’ll have an in-room fridge. Even four star hotels in Europe do not necessarily have this service.

  7. I was told to always carry it in your hand luggage, never had a problem, always have a list of medications from Dr as well, plus always take them in original package.

  8. I always check with the embassy where I am travelling to and have not had any problems. Also get a letter from my.GP.

  9. When you arrive at your hotel CHECK whether the fridge is working efficiently. I recently lost a months worth of medication which froze on the first night in our accommodation! Extremely expensive to replace. PS. The PBS is a blessing. One medication which costs me under $40 a month was nearly $1,000 in Europe. Thank you Lady Chifley.

  10. I take a letter from my GP listing the medications and a letter confirming the necessity for my CPAP machine no problem thus far !!!

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