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Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
445 posts
8 reviews
6 helpful votes
Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hi

I was just wondering if anyone knew what the rules were for taking prescription drugs in to Thailand? do i actually need the prescription or can I just take the drugs (they are in the sealed pop out sheets like panadol etc. is it best if I put them in my suitcase or take them in my carry on bag , do I need to declare them etc at customs?

Thanks for your help

162 replies to this topic
Gold Coast
Destination Expert
for Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Samui, Thailand
Level Contributor
26,328 posts
70 reviews
62 helpful votes
1. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

If you have any meds that the doctor has prescribed keep them in their original packaging and get a letter from your doctor listing them.

Bangkok, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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2. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hi,

The Thai law speaks to this matter is found in one of three major laws:

Narcotics Control Act 1976, and

Narcotics Act 1979, and

Psychotropic Substances Act 1975

and they're enforced by the Office of Narcotics Control Board or ONCB.

Essentially, these laws define and categorize all drugs into one of several "classes".. Each class has it's own specific rules about the import, licensing, etc..

For the most part, drugs that are not either patently illegal to have or would be very tightly controlled (think cannabis, morphine, etc) are going to be OK for import, *so long as* they are for your own use (and not for gifting or resale) and are in only sufficient quantity given your period of stay.

However, there are some drugs that DO in fact require a formal permit for entry.. The problem here is you don't say WHAT drugs we're talking about.. and that does matter.

So long as your medications are not the type that are heavily controlled and not illegal, and you only have enough for your stay, you should be fine.

You do not need to make a formal declaration to Customs UNLESS the drugs you have are of the type (or class) that does in fact require an entry permit..

My take on what to do? Given that walking thru the green channel IS in fact a formal declaration, my best advice is if your not sure, just ASK one of the officers BEFORE walking thru the channel..

All you need to do is say something like "I have my medications. Is this ok?"

My experience is that in nearly 95% of the cases you'll be waived on, or at worst asked what the medications.

Some will say to just walk thru green channel as the odds you'll be stopped are low.. and that's true.. BUT.. I will also tell you that as someone based here and comes thru the international inspection area at least once a week if not more often, that Thailand takes a very hard-line view of narcotics.. and while your medications are probably 100% legit, when it comes to drug laws-- I take zero chances.. and there is a very easy 'work around' to keep you on the right side of the law

So, all you need to do is simply ask the officer at the front red channel.. something like "excuse me, I have my medications for XXXX (condition) do you need to see them?" that's it. Like I said, in probably 95% of the cases, s/he will waive you on, no questions asked.. or at worst, will ask simple questions like 'how much' or 'what for'... and that's about it.. and by doing so, you've covered your bases in terms of making a proper declaration.

Travel Safe,

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
445 posts
8 reviews
6 helpful votes
3. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

THanks for the great replies especially GOPBI that was a very helpful reply

the drugs are certainly legit and completely legal however going to a foreign country with hard drug laws I would certainly not want to get in to trouble for being ignorant. I think what you said makes complete sense to let them know before going in to Thailand worst case they confiscate them however like you said for the drugs that they are there should be no problems at all. I would just rather declare them than not incase something happens I can at least say i asked one of the officers.

I dont actually have the prescription but there is a very small quantity for what I will need for the short trip and they are sealed and everything.

Thanks again for your help

Edinburgh, United...
1 post
4. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Thanks for all your info,

all very helpful. I am planning to take about 10 Tramadol, 40 Diclofenac, 40 Co-Codamol and 2 Diazipan into Thailand. Do you think these are regarded as 'controlled' substances? I have had several operations and have the scars to prove it. Maybe I should just leave them at home? I have the prescriptiions for he Diclofenac, and the Co-codamol, but not for the Tramadol or the Diazipan.

Regards, Sharon.

Level Contributor
82 posts
4 reviews
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5. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hi :). I always carry

a letter signed by my Dr listing my med :) take only enough for the trip + 2 extra days just in case .I carry them in there org. containers and never had a problem :) Roz

Bangkok, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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6. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hi,

Sharonking01,

You can see the entire law-- Psychotropic Substances Act 1975-- directly from the Thai Office of Narcotics Control Board:

…oncb.go.th/document/…20p41-71.pdf

Do know that your Diazipan >>IS<< in fact a Schedule Four (4) narcotic, and therefore, in accordance with the law, does in fact need permits for entry from the Ministry of Public Health, who has regulatory control over these matters...

I cannot find a reference for Co-codamol, but suspect it's listed under its pharmacological name, and not a trade name..

As far as the Diazipan, which again is a Schedule four (4) narcotic, the law specifically says this:

" Section 16: A person shall not produce, sell, import or export any psychotropic substance in Schedule III or Schedule IV or carry across a psychotropic substance of any Schedule unless he has received a license.

The application for a license and the issue of a license shall be in accordance with the rules, procedure and conditions prescribed in the Ministerial Regulation."

So, the legal and statutory reality is that UNLESS you have obtained in advance, or will obtain upon arrival in Bangkok, a permit from the Ministry of Health, it IS in fact illegal to "... produce, sell, import or export..." this narcotic-- note that this does include IMPORT..

The law does not appear to have any language that differentiates between personal imports or commercial imports in this regard..

All this said.. I think the *odds* that you'll be stopped or extensively questioned over it-- SO LONG AS-- you have proper documentation to support why you have it.. BUT.. I think it's also fair-- and correct under the reading of the law-- that unless you do in fact have a permit (from the Thai Ministry of Public Health) or obtain one at the time of import, it's not legal to bring it in..

Again, others experiences may vary-- but again, from a factual and legal basis; as I read the law, you would be "out of bounds" so to speak with the Diazipan; unless again, you had or will have the permits for entry, and IF (and that's an IF) a Customs officer wanted to "make a big deal of it" as I read the law, s/he would be wholly correct in their position.

I think you need to assess your situation and possible solutions that keep you on the "right" side of Thai Narcotics Law.

Travel Safe,

Edited: 10:23 am, November 30, 2011
Santiago, Region...
1 post
7. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

co-codamol and diazepam are controlled, so you should be very careful, since drug laws in thailand are extremly harsh. I think tramadol isn't controlled and i'm sure diclofenac isn't, but since you don't have prescriptions for the tramadol and diazepam DON'T take them. If I were you I would either get the prescriptions, or avoid complications and get an appointment with a doctor over there to get your medications, since none of them are very controlled (Co-codamol is schedule III in the narcotic act, the lowest and diazepam is schedule IV in the psichotropic substance act, also the lowest) . Hope that helps and good luck with your trip.;)

berkshire
Level Contributor
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3 reviews
2 helpful votes
8. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Hi does anyone know if my wife's prescription medication

Trileptal. Topamax. Clobazam

Are ok to take into thailand on holiday

Thanks

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
1,393 posts
97 reviews
83 helpful votes
9. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

Medications are ok to take as long as you have a letter from the doctor stating you need to have these and make sure to keep in box or casing

Hobart, Australia
Level Contributor
445 posts
8 reviews
6 helpful votes
10. Re: Question about taking prescription drugs to Thailand

I took prescription drugs in and I didnt have an actual prescription I even told the security officer at the airport at customs checking suitcases and he just said keep on walking through, I saw about 50 people go through in front of me and they didnt check one bag

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