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Bringing medicines to China.. is permission required for more than 3 months?

Bringing medicines to China.. is permission required for more than 3 months?

Old Feb 19, 2024, 10:19 pm
  #1  
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Bringing medicines to China.. is permission required for more than 3 months?

Long story short.. I have a lot of health problems. Last year I had a health emergency which led to being diagnosed with a chronic condition. I'm planning a long trip in Asia.. and I want to spend a few months in China along with all the time in other places. I'll be traveling with up to maybe 1 year of medicine.

Back when I used to visit China around 2006.. I didn't have another medicine to carry. Now I have a ton of supplements and pharms I need to travel with.

What are the official rules regarding quantities of supplements and pharms for China? How would a tourist go about applying for permission to travel with 1 year supply of one medicine in particular?
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Old Feb 19, 2024, 11:32 pm
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IME as long as none of your meds are illegal to possess in China, English language prescriptions are okay (even the sticker on pill bottle abbreviated format). Border control probably won't bat an eye and doctors have the ability to translate anything in case you need refills.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 2:18 am
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Originally Posted by moondog
IME as long as none of your meds are illegal to possess in China, English language prescriptions are okay (even the sticker on pill bottle abbreviated format). Border control probably won't bat an eye and doctors have the ability to translate anything in case you need refills.
but only thing I worry is this is an injectable medicine.. and it's 1 year supply.. so I don't know if from other people's experience something like that requires advance request.. I emailed the Chinese embassy but no reply.

info on the web says "reasonable amount for personal use" is OK.. but doesn't state how much that is.. most countries seem to be 90 days.. though a country like Malaysia is only 30 days

I do remember from my earlier trips to China like 15 years ago.. that they were extremely lax.

I also travel with like 20+ different kinds of supplements.. I don't think they really care but it might look like a lot.. mainly I'm just concerned about the 1 year of the injectable medicine.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 3:38 am
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What does the container look like?
Is that chilled?
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 4:06 am
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Originally Posted by narvik
What does the container look like?
Is that chilled?
Yes it has to be temperature controlled too
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 11:07 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingSloth
Yes it has to be temperature controlled too
The reason I asked is that depending on how the container/storage system looks, it 'may' cause someone to want to check it on arrival. Not sure.
Is it cooled with dry ice? If yes, you'll need airline approval: https://travelinglight.com/can-you-t...ce-on-a-plane/
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingSloth
but only thing I worry is this is an injectable medicine.. and it's 1 year supply.. so I don't know if from other people's experience something like that requires advance request.. I emailed the Chinese embassy but no reply.

info on the web says "reasonable amount for personal use" is OK.. but doesn't state how much that is.. most countries seem to be 90 days.. though a country like Malaysia is only 30 days

I do remember from my earlier trips to China like 15 years ago.. that they were extremely lax.

I also travel with like 20+ different kinds of supplements.. I don't think they really care but it might look like a lot.. mainly I'm just concerned about the 1 year of the injectable medicine.
Slightly relevant to the ">3 months supply" question in your OP, I have a prescription for a medication that can only be dispensed in 2-week increments in China. The Rx is written up for up to year, so I often fill it for ~6 months worth when I'm not in China (this is a common practice). Chinese doctors/pharmacists are always happy to refill it up to the 2-week limit, and sometimes rewrite it with a higher dosage (in order to stretch it out). Once you get used to the Chinese system (its bureaucracy, in particular), it's not especially taxing and the front line people are often surprisingly pragmatic.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by moondog
Slightly relevant to the ">3 months supply" question in your OP, I have a prescription for a medication that can only be dispensed in 2-week increments in China. The Rx is written up for up to year, so I often fill it for ~6 months worth when I'm not in China (this is a common practice). Chinese doctors/pharmacists are always happy to refill it up to the 2-week limit, and sometimes rewrite it with a higher dosage (in order to stretch it out). Once you get used to the Chinese system (its bureaucracy, in particular), it's not especially taxing and the front line people are often surprisingly pragmatic.
Do you mean you often travel to China with 6 months or more supply of your meds? Because that's the main thing I'm wondering is flying into it.

I worked in China many years ago and always thought China has a decent system. But now I'm older and I'm traveling with so many meds and supplements so this is new for me with entering the country with basically a "pharmacy" in my luggage. But mainly concerned about that 1 year supply of injectable medicine I need for a new health condition.
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik
The reason I asked is that depending on how the container/storage system looks, it 'may' cause someone to want to check it on arrival. Not sure.
Is it cooled with dry ice? If yes, you'll need airline approval: https://travelinglight.com/can-you-t...ce-on-a-plane/
I didn't think of using dry ice. I'm planning to use a travel cooler which definitely will stand out.. and ice packs. So that's what I'm planning. I am concerned what happens if the airline doesn't have space in the on board fridge because the medicine is quite big. So far everyone has told me to ask the staff to put it in the fridge for the duration of the long flights, so soon as I board the plane. Just concerned about the size of the medicine for that part of it. And of course, hopefully I don't need to request advance permission from China? Japan and Singapore with 100% certainty I need to apply for advance permission to bring more than 3 months of medicine.. and both of those countries have straight-forward (though a bit tedious) processes to request permission.. I'm still waiting on the result. It's just China is a bit of a mystery without a straight-forward process.. but the general conscious seems to be basically "China doesn't really care" or "reasonable amount for personal use" and I guess that "reasonable amount" could be anything.. I just was thinking that because it's an injectable medicine and almost 1 year supply that it could be seen as "unreasonable amount" though I will have a doctor's letter indicating that I'm traveling with 1 year of the med.. that wouldn't be enough for Japan or Singapore.. but for China I guess just the doctor's letter is enough?
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Old Feb 20, 2024, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingSloth
I didn't think of using dry ice. I'm planning to use a travel cooler which definitely will stand out.. and ice packs. So that's what I'm planning.
Do NOT use dry ice (solid CO2 at -80C) to pack injectable medications unless you have confirmation from the manufacturer that the product is stable at very low temps. Dry ice in a foam cooler WILL freeze your medication even if the dry ice is separated from the product by insulating material. Many common injectable meds are not stable after being frozen, including insulin, Epo, Embrel, and GLP-RAs (like Wegovy pens) because the crystal structure of the formulation is disrupted at very low temps. Also, the pen/vial can become very brittle at sub-freezing temps.
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Last edited by chococat; Feb 20, 2024 at 4:27 pm
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Old Feb 21, 2024, 12:42 am
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And from my understanding staff will not be able to accommodate anything from a passenger in a refrigerated space on the aircraft due to food hygiene and other liabilities. Plan to be self-sufficient with your own cooler arrangement.
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Old Feb 21, 2024, 1:03 am
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Originally Posted by FlyingSloth
Do you mean you often travel to China with 6 months or more supply of your meds?
Yes, and I've yet to encounter a doctor in China who didn't endorse this approach.
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Old Feb 26, 2024, 9:35 am
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If they confiscate it (worst-case scenario), is this a medicine that you could obtain in China (so that you can survive - apologies, making assumptions)?
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Old Feb 26, 2024, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by ElevatorEnthusiast
If they confiscate it (worst-case scenario), is this a medicine that you could obtain in China (so that you can survive - apologies, making assumptions)?
I'd like to think that no sane person would confiscate properly documented lifesaving medicines, but having backup options in mind is obviously important (i.e. do a bit of research in advance).
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Old Feb 26, 2024, 12:28 pm
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Originally Posted by ElevatorEnthusiast
If they confiscate it (worst-case scenario), is this a medicine that you could obtain in China (so that you can survive - apologies, making assumptions)?
I'm bringing 5x doses of the medicine (1 year supply). Each dose costs around $25,000. So around $125,000 of medicine.

I can only obtain it in the U.S.. and if something happens to it.. it is not likely replaceable since the company will say they already provided it to me.

As far as I know Japan is the only country in Asia where it's available.. but yeah if it weren't being provided by the company without cost.. I wouldn't be able to afford it.

That's actually the craziness of this situation.. and I have never had to travel under these circumstances before or anything like it.. lol so it's a bit stressful.

The medicine also cannot get too cold (cannot be frozen) nor too warm.. so it basically has to be kept 2 - 8C ideally in a fridge or a travel cooler at all times. It sucks.
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