I’ve had a number of emails from people who are concerned about bringing prescribed drugs into Thailand. Thai customs officers are aware that travellers may need to bring prescribed drugs into the country and in most case it isn’t a problem. The following answers to some common questions should help to clarify matters.
Do I need a letter from my doctor?
If you are bringing prescribed drugs into Thailand you should be able to prove that these have been prescribed by your doctor or similar qualified and registered person. It is recommended to obtain a letter from that person to confirm that the drug(s) that have been prescribed are strictly for medical reasons. Keep this letter on your person when passing through any security check-points (e.g. in airports). When you return to your home country keep this letter with you in case you are challenged by authorities at your point of entry.
Can I place prescribed drugs in my hand luggage?
Yes you can and it is advisable to do so. However, you will also need to comply with air traffic regulations which may place restrictions on certain items (e.g. syringes).
What about non-prescription drugs (e.g. paracetamol)?
In most cases it is advisable to only bring products with internationally recognised names. Although such items can safely be brought into Thailand, you need to be careful if you are transiting via another country (see below). Thai pharmacies are generally very helpful and will usually have staff who can speak good English. If you have a minor ailment or condition, a Thai pharmacy will probably be able to help. You may also find that some items which are only available via prescription in your home country may be readily available over the counter in Thailand.
Arriving in Thailand via another country
It is important to note the varying regulations imposed by different countries in relation to prescribed drugs and over-the-counter medicines. For example, Dubai has very strict rules which prohibit some common medicinal items such as codeine being brought into the country. You should check with your airline or the relevant authorities in the country you are transiting through.
For more information, check the advice from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.