22nd Jun 2017
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Travelling with medicines – what you need to know
Author: Lesh Karan
Travelling with medicines – what you need to know

If you’re planning to travel overseas with medicines, you need to know the steps to take, as restrictions apply when you're leaving or coming into Australia, as well as entering other countries. Here are some prompts so you don’t get stuck without your essential medicines.  

1. Talk to your doctor
Talking to your doctor about your travel plans is an essential part of planning your trip. Some points to consider raising with your doctor include:

  • which prescription and/or over-the-counter medicines you’ll need while you're travelling, including any complementary medicines, vitamins and supplements
  • the quantity of each medicine that you’ll need for the duration of your trip, as you may not be able to get them easily (or at all) while overseas
  • any devices, such as hypodermic needles, you need.


2. Carry a letter
While it may not be necessary, it is a good idea to carry an official letter from your doctor when travelling overseas with medicines and medical devices. The letter should list all the medicines you will be carrying with you, including any complementary and over-the-counter remedies. Also consider taking your prescription. You can find a sample letter here.

3. Keep your medicines and medical devices in their original packaging
This helps customs officials to identify the products easily and makes it clear that they are for medicinal use.

4. Carry medicine and medical devices in your carry-on luggage
Did you know that medicines are exempt from the 100ml limit on liquids, aerosols and gels? However, hypodermic needles are not allowed unless it is medically necessary for you to carry them, such as for injecting insulin. You should carry proof that you require the needles onboard, and the needles are to be kept (in your hand luggage) together with the injectable medicine.

5. Entering Australia with medicines
If you’re entering Australia with medicines and/or medical devices, they may be covered by the traveller's exemption program, or you may belong in a special category. Otherwise you may need an import permit.

For more information on travelling with medicines, visit:

You can also watch this video to find out what you need to do when preparing for your trip, going through border control and entering Australia.

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