Travelling to or from Australia with medicines and medical devices
You can enter Australia with medicines for you or an immediate family member travelling with you under the traveller’s exemption. When leaving Australia, you must follow the advice of the country you are entering.
Travelling to Australia with medicines and medical devices
The traveller's exemption allows people entering Australia to bring with them for their own personal use or the use by an immediate family member who is travelling with them:
- carry 3 months’ worth of medicine
- any medical devices.
Australian residents require a valid prescription from an Australian doctor for the medication they are travelling with. International visitors should have a valid prescription from their doctor.
Prescription medicines such as morphine, oxycodone, methadone, methylphenidate, Adderall®, and benzodiazepines are all covered by the traveller exemption.
Steps to take before travelling
- Obtain a prescription to confirm that the medicines you are carrying have been prescribed to you OR provide a letter from your doctor that states you are under their treatment and that the medication(s) you are carrying have been prescribed for your personal use. Your doctor's letter must specify the name of the medicine and dosage.
- Ensure the medication remains in its original packaging with the dispensing label intact. This will assist with identifying each substance at the border.
- Be ready to declare all medication to the Australian Border Force upon arrival.
If you need more medication
If you have run out of medication or you will run out of medication during your stay in Australia, you may visit an Australian registered prescriber (for example, a General Practitioner, Nurse Practitioner, Dentist) to obtain a valid Australian prescription. The prescription can be used to purchase medication from Australian pharmacies. Alternatively, if the item is not restricted in Australia a maximum of 3 months’ supply can be imported from overseas.
Special notice concerning codeine medications
All medications containing codeine require a prescription from your medical doctor.
For any medication containing codeine, of any strength, that you bring into Australia for your own personal use, you must have a prescription or letter from your doctor. You must comply with all other traveller’s exemption requirements.
Injections that contain human or animal materials
You must get permission to travel to Australia with injections that contain material of human or animal origin (for example, Hizentra® or Clexane®). Please see the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) website for instruction on how to obtain appropriate permissions.
You do not need permission to bring insulin for personal use.
If you run out of medication, you will need to see a doctor to discuss your options for procuring a further supply locally.
Travellers may not bring the following substances into Australia:
- Abortifacients (for example, mifepristone – RU486)
- Yohimbe (Yohimbine)
- Aminophenazone, amidopyrine, aminopyrine, dipyrone, metamizole
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 and medicinal cannabis products), being brought into their country. The Office of Drug Control is not able to provide advice on the exact rules and regulations of each country.
If you have concerns about the medication you are travelling with, check the 'Health' section of the country in question on SmartTraveller.
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 you follow the advice made available at SmartTraveller.
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and travel
Medicines supplied under the PBS are subsidised by the Australian Government for personal use only. Any medicines that are suspected to be taken overseas for somebody else may be seized by border officials.
Carrying PBS medicines overseas for someone other than you or an immediate family member travelling with you on the same aircraft or ship is illegal. It carries penalties of up to $5,000 and 2 years imprisonment.
Read more about how to manage your PBS medicine overseas.
Country-specific advice for travel with medicines
Find out more information about staying healthy and travelling with medicines to specific countries at the SmartTraveller website.