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Packing prescription meds to Europe

Hello! It's been a few years since I've been to Europe, so I'm wondering what the latest rules are for packing prescription meds. When traveling domestic, I usually pack them in a locking pill box, but I wasn't sure if the original labeled bottles are required these days. I'm flying through Edinburgh and Amsterdam airports. I get most of my prescriptions filled through mail order (which come in ginormous bottles), but I can likely get a 1 month supply filled at my local pharmacy for the trip and see if they can package in the smallest bottles.

Thanks for any advice!

Posted by
9110 posts

Use the pill boxes like everybody else with a lick of sense. Nobody gives a rat's rear bumper.

Posted by
5251 posts

You are recommended by customs to import medicines into the UK in their original containers, but it is not compulsory to do so.

Posted by
1976 posts

I bring the original packaging for my prescriptions. Some come in boxes that I fold flat and put in a pocket of my suitcase. I've never been asked about my prescriptions but I bring the packages anyway so I won't worry about it.

Posted by
2081 posts


you can do as you have done, but i bring the copy of the prescription just in case something happens and i cant tell anyone what the meds are.

My pharmacy told me that they could put it in a small ziplock bag with the relevant prescription info on a label, but i just ask for a small bottle with the same info. I think it will hold up better.

happy trails.

Posted by
108 posts

I would take them in something with the prescription info. I agree that it's unlikely that anyone would stop you or that you'd get in to trouble for it if you put it in a pill case, but I figure better safe than sorry. Plus, I think it's a good point to have the prescription info, either on the bottle or somewhere in your belongings, in case something happens and someone needs to ID the meds you're on and you're not able to tell them for any reason. Drug interactions can be dangerous, and your prescriptions from the U.S. may not be the same dosage or same drug as is generally used in whichever country you're in. So, doesn't hurt to have some way for medical professionals to know exactly what you're taking if you're not able to tell them.

Posted by
3428 posts

Here is the answer I've posted before:
TSA does NOT require that meds be in original bottle or label. Whether or not inspectors in other countries will worry about how you have your pills organized is always a question. Personally, I've never had a problem taking meds into other countries for my personal use (and we've had more than 40 international trips)
It is the INFORMATION that is important- more in case you have a medical emergency, or need a refill (lost meds, trip extended...) You should have the brand name of the medication (ambien, etc.) and the generic name, and if no generic, a "chemical" name as brand names are not always the same.
There are lots of ways to organize your meds. You can ask your pharmacist to print you an extra label (or use the one they give you that is with the 'side effects" printout) and put it on a small Ziploc bag, then put the medication in the bag. Put all the small bags into one larger bag. Alternatively, some pharmacies will prepare blister packs with all your meds grouped according to when you take them (example, day 1, am in one blister, day 1 lunch next, day 1 pm next, etc)and put all labels on the top of the sheet. You could use a pill organizer and put the labels from the pharmacy on one sheet of paper and keep it with the organizer. Or just take the printouts that the pharmacy gives you when you pick up your prescriptions.

I carry an information sheet with the above info (one for me , one for hubby)and I also list my Dr's phone #s, pharmacy's #, and emergency contact info as well a list medical conditions, surgeries /dates. If you become ill while traveling, or need a refill because you lost meds, etc. it could be vital. Feel free to private message me if you want a sample copy of the info sheet. Also, note that liquid meds of more than 3 oz should NOT be placed in your 3-1-1 bag, but should be in their own baggie, in original bottle. This should be identifies to the TSA agent. Also if you use a CPAP, nebulizer, etc, these devices must be declared and removed for separate screening. Most airlines don't count these bags in # of allowed carry-ons.

Posted by
507 posts


You are probably back from your trip.
Here is what I am doing w/my meds to prepare for my trip.

My meds are mailed to me in large containers. I went down to my local pharmacy where they gladly gave me smaller vials. I took a label off one of the larger empty vials & transferred it to the smaller one.

I keep copies of the prescriptions in my carry-on should there be a question during any security check.

Last March TSA questioned a large jar of prescribed salve my husband was carrying. Toni, Thanks for the info to put that jar of salve into a plastic bag of its own.

It is not so much the TSA I am concerned about as it is security in foreign countries who may question the validity of the meds.

Posted by
186 posts

I'm just getting to the point where I'm starting to worry/plan for details like this. We leave on Sept. 29th, flying in to Germany and out of Paris, train and cruise ship travel in between. This will be our 5th trip to Europe since 2004, and we did Australia in 2009. I've always just brought the pill caddies, no Rx bottles or Rx paperwork, and never have been questioned. (TSA is always much more intent on taking my teeny, tiny, round nose scissors away). But I agonize over this every trip.

And this time I will have 4 different kinds of pain killers/anti-inflamatories with me, so I guess I'll take photo copies of the Rx-by-mail paperwork for the half dozen or so prescription meds we'll travel with, if only not to be worrying about it. . Hubby is not on board with leaving the large mega-vitamin pills home, but I want to get the two of us into one container for three weeks and don't imagine it will hurt to be without our calcium, etc. tablets for that time. Geez, it's tough getting old!

Posted by
3428 posts

Chemists/Pharmacists in other countries CANNOT LEGALLY honor USA prescriptions. Take the info about the meds and see a doctor if more is needed for some reason. A letter from your doctor explaining your condition is not necessary, but could be helpful in such a situation. I have a form I developed that helps me organize the info I want to take (doctor names and numbers, pharmacy number, names - generic and commercial - of meds with pill size and daily dosing info and what they are for, emergency contact info, etc. ) . If you would like a template copy, feel free to private message me with your email.