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BANGKOK 21 February 2019 12:42
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Importing Prescription Drugs To Thailand

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I have been in Thailand for six years, and have had my prescription drugs sent to me every two or three months from the USA. I have insurance there, and many of my prescriptions are very low cost to me. Last month, the Thai FDA held my shipment. They called and requested a Medical Certificate from a Thai government hospital. I got that easily at Chulalongkorn, and the doctor there was surprised the FDA had given me any trouble. After I delivered the Medical Certificate, which listed every prescription, to the FDA, they called and said they would allow this shipment, but no further shipments of prescription drugs. I should go to a Thai doctor and get my prescriptions filled here. Unfortunately, some of my prescriptions are not available in Thailand, and those that are are imported, so are very expensive.

I just called the FDA again to ask if it was the particular drugs I was importing that was the problem, or importation of prescriptions in general. The officer told me that "importation of drugs to Thailand was illegal without an import license". Import licenses are not available to individuals. The law only allows a person to carry a 30 day supply with them in their luggage when they arrive. Shipments of drugs are not allowed. Since I do not travel to the USA every month, only about every six months, this is not a practical solution. When I asked what a retiree like me was expected to do, I got the same answer - importation of drugs by shipment is not legal in Thailand. Carry a one month supply in my luggage. This seemed like a very black and white answer, with no wiggle room.

I am puzzled, because I have had not trouble in six years. Once I was charged duty on the value of the prescriptions, but they still arrived.

Has anyone else found a workable long term solution to having prescriptions shipped into Thailand?

Edited by peridot

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I was aware of the 30 day rule but not that it is illegal to have medication shipped to oneself for personal use (and I am not totally sure that is true).

However anytime customs refers a package to the FDA long delays and trouble ensues. The FDA is not accustomed to dealing with issues of medications for personal use being imported, their perspective revolves around the rules governing commercial importation.

Packages shipped by regular air mail and hand addressed i.e. not from a company seem to fly largely under the radar. Keep quantities modest, preferrably limited to about a 30 day supply.

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