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  • Traveling with Medicines Across Borders

    Posted by mark-koziol on July 9, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    I recently returned from a 3 week European vacation. My wife and I visited Poland, Italy, Greece and Vienna, Austria. A major cause of my anxiety was the anticipation of carrying a significant amount of prescription medications across borders. I didn’t really know what to expect from other countries. Since my transplant we have traveled within the confines of the USA, but never crossed international borders. When I traveled within the USA I never brought my original prescription bottles with us. I used the 7 day pill box pictured at the top of the page, and I placed the other medications in plastic sandwich bags until I prepared my next week pill regiment.

    The thought of being detained and not allowed to bring my medicine regiment into another country gave me anxious moments. My transplant doctor wrote a detailed letter outlining my diagnosis and how having access to my medicine was a life or death situation for me.  For this trip, I used my pillbox and the original prescription bottles to avoid any type of problem. This made my backpack a little more bulky but it was well worth the outcome. I even had prescription liquid bottles over the required amount and was never questioned. All my anxious moments were for nothing. What a relief!

    I am interested to hear of our forum members experience of traveling with prescribed medications across borders.

    What has your experience been with this?

    mark-koziol replied 4 years, 7 months ago 2 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • steve-dragoo

    July 12, 2019 at 6:52 pm

    Hi Mark,

    Before returning to the Philippines, I shipped lots of supplements (and other stuff) and was concerned some but having been in and out of the country 12 times I sorta understood what to be careful about. Of course that changes all the time.

    It was a different matter when my wife and I traveled to Malaysia last month. I had a minor stroke a little over 4 years ago and it was then discovered I have a flattened pituitary (unknown cause but it regulates all the male strength and endurance hormones). I was prescribed Androgel for that and put some in a couple different small baggies, hoping I would not be asked about it since it was far less than 3 oz.

    Also diabetic so I took all of the daily supplements and pills mixed in 3 bottles which included the 21 pills per day from Wei laboratories. Again hoping no questions and only brought enough of everything to last 6 days. I figured if they took anything it would be just a few days to get back on track.  What I did not anticipate was Air Asia at the gate wanted to know where my onward ticket to/from the Philippines was. That amazed me for a ticket agent to be acting as Filipino border agent. – I was not happy about that because the purpose of that trip was for my wife and I to travel out of the Philippines with our marriage papers and upon returning to the Philippines I would get a 1-year stamp on my passport – NO onward ticket needed or visa. The gate agent had no idea what I was talking about and it could have been very problematic if she had bounced me (illegally I might add). I have flown on Air Asia a number of times but after filing a complaint and receiving a vague answer (called profiling), I will not fly that airline again.

    Customs had no questions in or out of Malaysia but they did monitor the weight carefully of our carry-on luggage.  So anyone traveling really needs to expect the unexpected since every country has it own set of changing rules.

    Glad your journey was smooth – ours was too except for the gate agent.

    Stay well,


  • mark-koziol

    July 13, 2019 at 7:00 am

    Hello Steve, thank you for sharing your traveling experience. I’m glad you made it through with all of your medications intact. I also encountered an agent in Austria who was adamant about the weight of carry on luggage. After some reshuffling by my wife we made it through but I didn’t expect to encounter this added hassle.  Mark


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