Transport Your Medicine to Europe
How to Transport Your Medicine to Europe
What medication should I be careful bringing?
It’s important to understand that some U.S. prescriptions are actually considered illegal narcotics in Europe, such as Adderall and other stimulant drugs used to treat ADHD/ADD. Even if your U.S. doctor prescribed these medications legally to you in the U.S., that won’t fly in Europe. You can still bring them legally, but you need to have the right documentation. Medications to be especially aware of include:
- ADHD/ADD medications (*Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin) *considered illegal narcotics in many European countries
- Pain medications (Vicodin, Oxycontin, Demerol)
- Anxiety medications (Xanax, Ativan, Valium)
How do I bring my medication into Europe?
To ensure legal transport and possession in Europe, especially if you are bringing Adderall (or any medication considered an illegal narcotic in Europe), you want to make sure you follow these steps:
1.) Bring a full supply of prescription medication for your time abroad. Meet with your doctor months ahead to discuss.
TIP: If your doctor or insurance company is hesitant to write you a prescription for the duration of your study abroad program, SAI can provide a letter verifying the dates of your participation in the program. (Just ask us!)
2.) Bring a signed and date stamped note from your doctor (on letterhead), that states, in English, the following:
- The name of the medicine (including the medicine’s generic name) and that the medicine is not a narcotic.
- The patient (full name) is carrying X amount of the medicine (boxes, grams, etc.) to last X number of months/weeks.
- The medicine is necessary for the patient’s health (name the condition), and that the patient cannot go without it during their stay in Europe.
3.) Keep each medicine in its original packaging/bottles.
4.) Make sure the bottles/packaging are clearly labeled. (Keep your prescription with you).
5.) Pack the medicine in your carry-on bag. (Not your checked luggage).
A note about Adderall: Sharing Adderall with others, or mixing it with other drugs or alcohol, is considered a crime in many European countries, and will be treated by local authorities and SAI, as such. Even when you get the medicine into the country, be sure to follow the local laws.
Can I fill my U.S. prescriptions in Europe?
If you have a U.S. prescription, there are a few things to keep in mind. The brand names of European medications will likely be different from the brand names of U.S. medications. While European doctors can’t refill the brand name of your U.S. prescription, they can likely prescribe a European equivalent. If you absolutely need a specific brand of U.S. medication (such as Adderall, that is not available in Europe), bring that supply with you, following the checklist above for transporting this medicine legally.
Otherwise, it may just be easier for you to find a similar brand of medication in Europe. At least 2 months before departure, consult with your doctor and get a list of similar, generic names for your medication. (“Generic name” meaning the chemical name for your medicine). When you’re in Europe, you can bring the generic names of your medicine to a local doctor (or local pharmacy, if the medicine does not require a prescription). The European doctor or pharmacist will likely be able to provide you something very similar.
Finally, if you need medicine in Europe, be prepared to pay up front for the cost at the pharmacy, but remember to keep your receipt.
Can my family ship me prescriptions or over-the-counter medicine while abroad?
In many countries, it is illegal to import prescription drugs via mail. Due to the potential for being slapped with fees or confiscated by Customs, SAI does not even recommend that students receive shipments of non-prescription medicine (including vitamins and contact lenses). Carry the supply you need with you when you depart the U.S., following the checklist above, or, plan to find an equivalent medicine at a European pharmacy, if available.