30 January 2017

Travelling to Australia with medicines and medical devices

International visitors and Australian residents returning from holidays can bring in most medicines and medical devices in their accompanied baggage under the traveller's exemption.

Note: Australian residents require a valid prescription from an Australian doctor for the medication they are travelling with.

Traveller's exemption

The traveller's exemption allows people entering Australia to carry their medicines and medical devices with them for their own personal use or the use by an immediate family member who is travelling with them, such as an infant.

Follow these simple rules to avoid issues at the border:

  1. Obtain a prescription or letter from your doctor that outlines the name of your medication(s) and how much you are currently taking.
  2. Ensure the medication remains in its original packaging with the dispensing label intact. This will assist with identifying each substance at the border.
  3. Do not bring more than a 3 month supply with you.
  4. Declare all medication to Australian Border Force upon arrival.

This exemption only applies to medication in your accompanied baggage.

Do not bring medicines or medical devices into Australia for anyone other than yourself or an immediate family member who is travelling with you.

Items that require special permission

The following items require permission to bring to Australia. If you intend to travel with one of these items, then you will need to contact the Drug Control Section for further advice: DCS@health.gov.au.

  • Anabolic/Androgenic substances (e.g testosterone, DHEA)
  • Abortifacients (e.g. mifepristone - RU486)
  • Thalidomide
  • Injections that contain material of human or animal origin (e.g. Hizentra®, Clexane®), excluding insulin
  • Athletes and sporting staff travelling with hormones and peptides
  • Travelling with more than a 3 month supply of your medication

Prohibited items

  • Aminophenazone, amidopyrine, aminopyrine, dipyrone
  • Amygdalin/laetrile
  • Cannabis or products derived from cannabis.
    Note: travellers with Sativex® and CBD oil should email DCS@health.gov.au to clarify whether they can travel with their medication.

Travelling from Australia with medicines and medical devices

We recommend that all Australians who are planning to travel overseas with medication follow the same travel advice given for travellers entering Australia under the traveller's exemption.

It is important to note that some countries have very strict rules regarding certain types of medications (especially narcotics), being brought into their country. The Office of Drug Control is not in a position to provide advice on the exact rules and regulations for each country.

If you have concerns about the medication you are travelling with, check the 'Health' section of the country in question on SmartTraveller.

Note: The Office of Drug Control is not able to authorise documents to confirm legal authority of the traveller to possess a medication. If a person is travelling to a country that requires official documentation endorsed by the government, we recommend that the above standard travel advice is followed.

Things to Remember

Medicines supplied under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) are subsidised by the Australian Government for personal use only. Carrying PBS medicines overseas with you for someone other than you or an immediate family member who is travelling with you on the same aircraft/ship is illegal and carries penalties of up to $5,000 and/or 2 years imprisonment. Further information regarding the PBS is available Deparment of Human Services website.

Border officials have the power to seize any medicines they suspect you are taking overseas for somebody else.

Find out more information about staying healthy and travelling with medicines to specific countries at the SmartTraveller website.