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 are able to 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 actually see a lot of people doing it by accident (shout out to all the senior citizens out there not reading this). There are, however, certain instances that allow for shipping prescription medicine. Let’s get into it.
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.
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.
“What If I Have a Prescription for Marijuana?”
Sorry, Charlie. As of the date I write these words, it is still illegal to ship marijuana and cannabis products. Although, the recently passed Farm Bill officially legalized hemp and CBD in the United States, so the ability to ship cannabis through the major carriers may not be too far in the future.
Read the Fine Print
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 be in compliance with the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act.