Can I Ship Prescription Medicine?

Shipping prescription medicine comes with its fair share of restrictions and regulations - learn how to be in compliance when shipping medicine
ship prescription medicine
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Did your mom forget her antibiotics when she came to visit? Need to send some cough syrup across town? Whatever the case may be, people often wonder if they can ship prescription medicine. We hear this question more often than most, and there’s a lot of grey area here. If you are just a regular citizen, the answer is generally no. However, we see a lot of people doing it by accident (shout out to those of you out there not reading this). There are, however, certain instances that allow for shipping prescription medicine within the United States. Let’s get into it.

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When It’s OK to Ship Prescription Medicine

If you want to ship prescription drugs, you need to either be a drug manufacturer, a registered agent of a drug manufacturer, a pharmacy, a medical practitioner, or an authorized dispenser. These rules apply no matter which shipping carrier you choose, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) strictly enforces them. Yes, you read that correctly! Believe it or not, the DEA does way more than take down notorious narcotics criminals like Pablo Escobar and El Chapo. Who would’ve thought?

The same rules apply to both domestic and international shipments. You can only ship prescription medications internationally if you are a DEA-registered distributor.

Pro Tip: If you’re authorized by the DEA to ship prescription medicine or if you’re trying to ship over-the-counter drugs, follow the rules! You will always need to comply with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act.

What About Controlled Substances?

Yes, the rules still apply to controlled substances such as narcotics and anabolic steroids. If you want to ship controlled substances domestically, you must be an authorized dispenser like a pharmacist or medical practitioner. It’s important to note that you cannot ship controlled substances internationally.

Heads up: USPS takes the shipment of narcotics seriously. Very seriously. USPS has a branch that investigates shipments of illegal drugs through the mail called the Postal Inspection Service Prohibited Mail Narcotics Program. If you get caught trying to send controlled substances through the mail and you’re not authorized by the DEA to do so, there will be consequences.

What About Over the Counter Drugs?

You can ship over-the-counter medicine such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, cough medicine, etc. However, you will need to comply with local and federal laws such as the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act.

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  1. Joseph DeLibero

    I will move to France and need to have my prescription medications to me in France in the late fall. What are the regulations? What are the steps in the shipping process?

  2. Anita

    Can I ship medication for depression fron USA to Mexico?

  3. Tariq

    I am a physician and I want to export IV vitamin to a clinc over seas. What are legal requirements to be able to do this – relating to FDA , DEA, any permits etc.. thanks

  4. George Jenkins

    I receive medication from VA , as a veteran living abroad, they do not ship international, is it possible to have someone mail my medication

    • Living_hi_808

      To better understand, does VA stand for Veteran Affairs or Virginia? If it is Vet. Affairs then it would be best to maintain your current mode of delivery vs having someone not properly licensed to do so send. Like the article said, harsh consequences do follow with not taking heed to these warnings.
      And I would say the same as well for the state of Virginia. Being a common wealth state, state laws aren’t known to be so outrageously oppressive as its counterparts but still a federally regulated state nonetheless. Stick to the article’s advice in black and white my friend. If you still decide to question the validity of specific details of “your situation” then I strongly urge you to direct them directly to the source i.e. USPS, Fedex, UPS, etc..
      Thanks for your service. Please don’t make any rash decisions before thoroughly knowing the risk vs reward

  5. Shimbra

    I am a postal history collector. You can ship snake venom, scorpions, if you are medical lab. Also farmers can ship honey bees, and baby chickens.


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