Travelling with prescription medication, even over the counter drugs isn’t as easy as you think. Of course, if you’re going to a different country for business or pleasure, it’s normal to pack a medicine kit in case of emergency. Sleep meds, cold relief, and allergy pills are only some of the most commonly packed travel essentials.
But, these medicines may be banned in the country you’re visiting – which could put an unnecessary delay in immigration. Indeed, encountering problems with medication is all too common for travellers. In this article, we’ll discuss best practices that will ensure you can safely bring meds abroad.
How to plan ahead
One of the most challenging aspects of travelling with meds is the varying laws in each country. The best way to handle the situation is to consult your physician. For example, if you’re going to get shots before leaving, you may want to inquire about the right way you can bring a travel pack with antibiotics. It’s likely that the doctor will know the protocols, or can point you to the right resource.
Another way is to check with the country’s embassy since they have more extensive information available, including providers that accept your health insurance provider.
Labelling and packing medication for travel
Anytime you want to bring prescription meds and supplements abroad, always keep the original packaging. This way, it’s easy to match the name on the bottle to that in your passport. The bottles should be in clear packaging that immigration officials can quickly check.
The rules may have also changed when it comes to liquids and gels, so you need to verify the allowable amounts before bringing any in your hand-carried luggage.
Carry supporting documents
Always have original copies of your prescription. If you’re taking several meds, have your physician write an official letter listing all the medicines you’re taking. If you’re carrying special equipment to administer medication, such as syringes for insulin shots or an EpiPen for allergies, you may need additional documents for them. Make sure to inquire from the embassy if you’ll need to submit any copies in advance before your actual travel date.
Be familiar with active ingredients and the amounts contained in the medicine you’re carrying
In addition to the actual prescription and condition, you also need to indicate active ingredients and their amounts in the official documents you’re carrying. Active ingredients should not refer to the brand name; hence it should be as specific and precise as possible. Ask for assistance from your pharmacist or doctor, so you don’t miss out on anything important.
Consider alternatives or reduce the amount you’re bringing
If you can, try to reduce the amount of medicine you’ll bring abroad. As long as you have your prescription, you may be able to find an alternative from a local pharmacy. However, it’s still critical to consult with your physician if you want to consider an alternative to the meds you’re taking. Also, you’ll need to allow your body to adjust to the new meds and might need to take it weeks before you leave.