How to manage your PBS medicine overseas

There are laws and restrictions on the amount and types of PBS medicine you can take or send overseas.

It’s illegal to take Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medicines overseas for someone other than yourself or someone you’re travelling with. This includes immediate family members or relatives.

If you illegally take or send PBS-subsidised medicines overseas, you risk one or both of these:

  • a fine of up to $11,000 as of August 2021
  • 2 years in prison.

We can help translate this information in another language. Call the Medicare program line. Let us know if you need an interpreter and we’ll arrange one for free.

Before you go

Before you travel you should do all of these:

  • Check with the country’s embassy, high commission or consulate if the medicine is legal there
  • If it’s legal in the country, get a letter from an Australian doctor for the medicine and take it with you. If you can’t do this, print and fill in the Medicine Export Declaration form. Take it with you when you go through customs.
  • Leave the medicine in the original packaging.

Find out more about embassies, high commissions or consulates on the Department of Foreign Affairs and trade website.

If you have concerns about any medicine you plan to take with you overseas, check the SmartTraveller website. You can search for the country you’re visiting and check what it says about medication under ‘Health’.

Page last updated: 23 September 2022.
QC 51186