We’ve been asked many times if shipping prescription drugs is allowed. Medicines are usually listed among the items that are forbidden to ship. Despite the fact that medicines are a crucial commodity for the health of many people, it is often difficult to ship them.

Medicines, listed among "Do not ship items"
Whenever you plan to ship any items that might not be suitable for shipping services, the golden rule is always to have a look at the Terms and Conditions of the company which provides the services. If not listed in a separate section of the website, all the prohibited items are listed in the terms and conditions.
Most certainly you will find drug prescriptions and other pharmaceutical products, along with medical samples on the list.

Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs
Granted, there are many people who want to use the same pills they can buy and use at home. Often, people carry such pills when traveling or mail them to another place. This is a quite common practice. People still ship medicines which can be bought without a prescription, for their regular use.
However, as long as the courier companies have medicines listed among forbidden items, even analgesics fall into this category and are excluded from shipping.

Regulations of different countries
Shipping prescriptions drugs in Europe as a way to help out relatives or friends might cause you problems you’ve never thought about.
Maybe your friend needs a drug that he has been using for a long time or maybe the price of one medicine in one country is significantly cheaper than in another European country. Regardless of the reason, you should be aware of the fact that you can be fined for shipping prescription drugs in Europe or this might even land you in jail if the substance is prohibited in the delivery country.

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Does this mean that there are no special services available for shipping prescription drugs?
No. Many big international courier service providers offer transportation of medicines. Medicines are temperature sensitive items and due to their nature, they need special conditions of transportation.
There are quite a few companies which can accommodate the shipping of prescription drugs. You only need to search for the right one.

What are the reasons why shipping prescription drugs are not allowed?
There are different reasons that make medicines unsuitable for the standard courier services.

1.    Medicines need a temperature controlled environment, which, with the standard courier services, it cannot be secured. During the transportation, the medicines will be exposed to different temperature values. The fluctuation in temperature, especially during extreme seasons (winter/summer) and weather conditions, can negatively influence the quality of the medicines.
Therefore, medications have to be stored according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. When the storage conditions fall outside the recommended range, the quality the composition of the pharmaceutical drugs will certainly be affected.
2.    Medication needs to be stored in an environment protected from bacteria and viruses. It goes without saying that a simple van or truck which usually transports standard packages will not be the appropriate environment for pills and medication. Your shipment will travel as one package among others. The other packages will not contain the same type of goods. Since the shipping service is used for a wide range of items, there are high chances that your medicines will be exposed to bacteria. Not to mention the risk your package is exposed to in case of another package breakdown during transportation.
3.    The time needed for medicines to arrive in optimum conditions is critical. Unlike another type of items, the quality of the medicines can be easily altered if the transit times are long. This happens simply because a longer transit time will mean that the parcel will most likely be exposed to temperature fluctuations.
4.    Just as sharing the prescription with someone is prohibited, also posting it is forbidden. Even with prescription and documentation, medication cannot be sent via regular shipping services. Medicines are subject to different regulations in each country. So this is one thing you will want to check before shipping prescription drugs in Europe.
5.    When medicines represent an unreasonable risk. Pharmaceutical shipping is a challenge not only for individual shippers but mainly for the manufacturers and importers. Making medicines available where they are needed is not an easy task. Getting a medical product from one place to another is even more challenging when talking about customized treatments for patients with rare diseases. The costs of producing these medicines are high. Their high value asks for a shipping service that can provide seamless transportation, adjusted to the type of medicine to be transported.

Ways to avoid any issues you could face by shipping prescription drugs 
1.    First things first, before placing an order for shipping medicines via courier, check thoroughly for the information on the company’s website. However, if you will be using a parcel broker instead, ask them if and under which conditions you can mail pills to someone. Since parcel brokers have a network of courier companies they work with, they might be able to offer access to such specific services.
2.    Check the regulation in the country of collection and country of delivery.
3.    Turn directly to a courier company that has expertise in shipping medicines – there are many courier companies that specialize in shipping medicines across the world. If you plan on shipping prescription drugs, the company will most probably request some documentation such as drug name, drug manufacturer, information about the use of the medication, a copy of the prescription. If shipped internationally, these documents will help to clear the shipment.

It is recommended to use specialized services rather than a standard courier service because besides keeping you away from potential troubles, they will also provide the appropriate packaging, climate conditions and choose the right routes to ensure a smooth delivery.


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