Airports are terrifying places. If going through US visa registration wasn’t bad enough, even the most seasoned of travellers hold the same fear as all of us when it comes to passing through an airport, and it can all come down to one simple word: Security. In this instance, we mean the security you and your bags will pass through as part of the boarding and checking in process. Countless times will we stand in line, trying to remember whether or not we took out every 100ml bottle and put it in a plastic bag, and for those of us who take medication, it’s a whole additional level of worry. While most medication is safe, there are some that aren’t approved in other countries, and the USA is no exception. So how do you pass through security without a hitch with your medication? Here, we explore what you need to know when travelling into the US with medication.
No matter how you get to the USA, it’s important to remember that he moment you arrive on US soil, you’ll be under the authority of the FDA (U.S Food and Drug Administration), the US Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration. In short, the rules that these organisations have set will be the ones that you must follow – they’ll even have staff in operation at the airports. It might sound intimidating, but it’s important to remember that unless you have something to hide, it’s likely they’ll be there to help rather than hinder. Each organisation will have different rules and regulations, so it’s worth checking with every organisation to be sure.
You’ll need to have a valid prescription, written in English, to be allowed to bring medication into the USA. All medication needs to be in its original packaging with doctor’s instructions printed onto it, or if you don’t have the original packaging, then a prescription with details of your condition and the need for medication will need to be included. As a rule of thumb, don’t bring more than you need. Having one or two spare just in case is fine, but avoid taking much more than you need for the duration of your stay.
What about prescriptions?
If you come to be in the USA and you need medication, getting a prescription can be difficult. In the case of an emergency, seeing a healthcare provider is vital, or you can even make use of telemedicine. Doxy.me, for example, works as a platform for medical professionals and patients to speak face to face, which can give you faster and more efficient access to medical help when you need it.
In some states, you might find that pharmacies can fill a foreign prescription, but this is more unlikely than it is likely. It’s also illegal to import drugs into the U.S for personal use, simply because they won’t have been evaluated or approved by the FDA. If your medication is specific to a treatment in which there is no other option, there may be the chance to review your importation applications, but this isn’t likely.
What you need to consider
Provided that all of your medications are safe for use and are FDA approved, the next thing you need to consider is just what you should pack and bring with you. If you’re on regular medication, you’ll need to bring enough for your trip, or if you have a severe allergy, make sure you bring your Epinephrine injector (like an EpiPen!) It’s also wise to pack these medications in your hand luggage –
it means you’ll have quick access in an emergency, and won’t be left without in the unfortunate case your luggage is lost.
Its worth doing research before you leave specific to your medication and your condition. Speak with your doctor before you leave, and consider setting up some kind of contact method (like Doxy.me!) so you’ll have access to healthcare and help when you need it. As long as you’re thorough in your research, bringing medications into the USA should go smoothly. Good luck, and happy travelling!
Tell your clinician to sign up for a free Doxy.me account so you can meet with them if you get sick while traveling.