Taking medication abroad

Before you travel abroad, please obtain information from the relevant authorities in the country of your destination about the regulations which apply to bringing medicines into their country: Foreign consulates and embassies in Austria

Information on taking addictive substances abroad

When patients take prescription medicines abroad which are subject to the Addictive Substances Act (addictive drugs, psychotropic substances), the following regulations should be noted:

Travelling to states which are signatories to the Schengen Agreement

For journeys of up to 30 days to member states of the Schengen Agreement, prescription medicines containing addictive substances can be taken with you if you have a certificate according to Article 75 of the Schengen Executive Agreement. The certificate has to fulfil the following conditions:

  • The so-called Schengen form has to be used for the certificate.
  • The form has to be filled in by the prescribing doctor.
  • The form has to be certified by the medical officer (Amtsarzt) of your district authority (Magistrat or Bezirkshauptmannschaft). Please note that you have to go the authority which is responsible for your main place of residence to do this.

Addictive substances may only be taken with you for your own use. For this reason, it is not permissible to use other persons to take them for you.

Travelling to other countries

When travelling to other countries, patients should clarify the situation in the country of their destination before starting their journey. Any permits required for bringing addictive substances into the country of your destination can be obtained from the relevant monitoring authority of that country. General and country-specific information for travellers is provided by the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations.

In some countries, the following is sufficient:

  •  A certified copy of your prescription
  • or a doctor’s certificate in English with details of the individual dosage and the daily dosage.

Information can be obtained from the embassy or consulate of the country of your destination. If you are allowed to take medicines there, it is recommended to obtain a confirmation of the prescription in English. The form for non-Schengen states is available online.

If it is not possible to take your medication with you, you should clarify

  • whether the addictive substances you require or an equivalent product are available in the country of your destination
  • and whether they can be prescribed by a doctor there.

If that is not possible either and the addictive substances can only be acquired in Austria, an import and export permit procedure corresponding to the provisions of the United Nations and the respective national laws is necessary.

To this end, first of all an importer in the destination country (e.g. a pharmacy) must be found which obtains the necessary import permit from the monitoring authority of that country. The presentation of an import permit is required for the issue of an export permit. Only a company which is authorised in accordance with the addictive substances regulations is allowed to act as the exporter. The export permit must be applied for from the Federal Ministry of Health accompanied by the import permit and is subject to a fee.

Due to this very complicated procedure, this option is only worth considering in exceptional cases. Please note that the time involved in this procedure (obtaining a permit from two national authorities) is considerable and should be taken into account in your planning.