Obtaining Prescription Medicine While Overseas

Healthcare is one of the many challenges that face expatriates today. Specifically, how do you go about getting your prescription medication if you are living overseas? In the past, many people have tried to take a year supply of medication overseas with them only to have customs confiscate it. Others have arranged for someone to fly to their country to bring them medication.   To help simplify the process, here’s how you can prepare in advance of moving overseas to ensure a smooth transition of continuing your prescription regimen:

1.       Schedule a doctor’s appointment for a physical and confirm what medications you will be taking while living overseas.  If possible, speak with a colleague in the destination country to determine if those medications are available locally. 

2.       Request a prescription from your doctor that will cover a 30-60 day supply to take with you and another prescription for a 180-day supply should you need to utilize mail order.    Ask your doctor to provide a letter stating your medications are for personal use only.  If you must obtain your prescription from an overseas doctor, be sure to have it written in English on proper letterhead.

3.       Speak with your company’s benefits department to discuss the international benefits that are available to you.  Many international health plans offer healthcare provider networks, emergency medical evacuation, prescription benefits and/or an international pharmacy network to purchase medications.

4.       Research the destination country’s customs regulations regarding delivery of medications.  For example, some countries will only allow a 90 day supply of medication to cross their border or you may be required to work with the Ministry of Health to obtain an import license to have medications shipped to you while living overseas.

Submitted by Expat Prescription Services.

For more information on getting prescription medications delivered to you while living overseas, please visit Expat Prescription Services .