Do you use prescription medicine? If the answer is yes, then it is highly likely that you’ll need to take it with you overseas, which means there are a few important things you should do:

  • Before you leave, make sure you have enough medicine for your trip – you may not be able to get your medicine overseas. Remember you should not go over the limit of PBS medicine you are allowed to take overseas.
  • Leave the medicine in its original packaging, with your name clearly visible. While it’s tempting to organise your medicine in pill boxes or bags for convenience, it’s really important that your medicine is clearly identifiable – especially in case of an emergency. This will also help you avoid getting stuck in an airport for hours while Customs verifies your medicine.
  • Get a letter from your doctor that explains what the medicine is and how much you need. The letter should clearly state that the medicine is for your personal use or the personal use of someone in your care (your child, for instance). If you are unable to get a letter from your doctor, use the Australian Government’s Medicine Export Declaration.
  • If you need to take a large quantity of medication, it’s a good idea to divide portions among different pieces of luggage in case bags go missing.
  • If you wear prescription glasses, take along a spare pair and/or a copy of the prescription so that they can be replaced more easily if lost or broken.
  • Please note that it is illegal to take Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines out of Australia unless the medicine is for your personal use, or the personal use of someone travelling with you. There are also restrictions on the amount of PBS medicine you can take overseas. People found to be handling a PBS medicine in the wrong way risk a fine of up to $5,000 and/or two years imprisonment.
  • In some countries it is illegal to bring needles or syringes through customs. If you buy needles and syringes overseas, ensure they are sealed and sterile.
  • Try to avoid buying medicine overseas. PBS medicines are only available from approved pharmacies within Australia and by purchasing these products or medicines overseas you may unknowingly break the law, waste your money or risk your health. If you need to buy medicines,  be aware that packaging and labelling may be similar to those available in Australia, but the strength and active ingredients can vary from country to country.
  • For more information about travelling with PBS medicines call 1800 500 147