Sometimes it’s just cheaper, especially if your medication doesn’t fall under the PBS, to import pharmaceuticals from overseas. There are, however, laws and regulations surrounding the importation of medication and pharmaceuticals that you should be aware of in order to avoid any unnecessary complications. These laws fall under the personal importation scheme.
Personal importation of pharmaceuticals
Personal importation, as defined by the TGA, is when:
- an individual arranges from within Australia for a therapeutic good to be sent to them from an overseas supplier or family/friend, and
- the goods are to be used by that individual or a member of his/her immediate family and are not sold or supplied to any other person.
In short, to order medication or pharmaceuticals from overseas, it must only be for you or your immediate family and you can’t sell or supply it to anyone else. There are also limitations to the amounts you can import.
The personal import scheme allows you to import a maximum of a three month supply of medication at the highest recommended dose. There are also additional restrictions regarding the type of medication imported and what is done with it.
- Apart from it being restricted to personal or immediate family member usage, you must attempt to the best of your ability to keep the medication in its original package with all labels intact.
- The substance cannot be restricted by quarantine or custom laws or contain a controlled substance. Apart from insulin, any injections cannot be human or animal based.
- On top of this, if the goods are in the schedule four or eight of the poison standards control, they require a prescription from an Australian healthcare professional to be imported.
There are also a number of chemicals or pharmaceuticals that while legal in other countries, are restricted in Australia and therefore cannot be brought in. DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), norandrostenedione, ephedra and ephedrine all require an additional permit for importation.
To make sure you are not breaching any customs regulations under Australian law, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of all ingredients in your medication and make sure they don’t fall under this list. If any of these ingredients are found, the medication will be seized by customs.
Know what you’re ordering, the correct dosage and whether or not customs requires a prescription and you shouldn’t run into legal problems when ordering medication under the personal importation scheme.