Mailing prescription medicines from US to Germany

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Our family will be moving from the US to Berlin for one year. Our insurance company will only give us a three-month supply of our prescription medicines to take with us. Can we have the remaining months prescriptions mailed to us in Germany without having a hassle at Customs? If so, what is the best service to use--US Postal Service, FedEx, or something else? Or perhaps there's an even easier way to be sure we have the prescription meds we need all year. For example, can we get them at a German pharmacy with a US doctor's prescription? I've been told that at least one med I take isn't available in Germany for treatment of the condition I take it for--so this may not be a workable solution for me. Please let me know what has worked for you. Thanks!

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If you enter MEDICINES into the SEARCH box you will see from a number of threads that mailing medicines to Germany is a NO-GO.

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I'm afraid this is a sure way to find out what kind of meds the prison-doctor will prescribe for your condition.

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For example, can we get them at a German pharmacy with a US doctor's prescription?

Nope, you'll need to get a prescription from a German doctor.

 

 

I've been told that at least one med I take isn't available in Germany for treatment of the condition I take it for

Don't know if there's a workaround for that. Again, talk to a doctor here and see if what you've been told is really true. Not to get too personal, but are we talking about Wellbutrin?

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You will have (by law) German health care coverage and you will get the meds cheaper here than in the US.

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Thanks for all the advice so far. And yes, westvan, one of the meds we're talking about is Wellbutrin. What can you tell me about obtaining it in Germany?

 

Also, a few new questions:

 

1. Do I, as a non-EU citizen, really have a legal right to health care coverage in Germany? It's wonderful if true--we in the US should be so civilized--ahem. Is there an official website I can visit to read more about this?

 

2. What website do I visit to read about Germany's medication importation laws? I've tried the Zoll website and couldn't seem to navigate to anything about prescription meds--maybe I just didn't know where to click?

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With few exceptions (e.g. tourist up to 3 months, military) it's a requirement to have approved medical insurance, public or private, to get permission to live/work here.

 

The German Customs site have summary information in English on the importation of medicines where you will see that it's as good as impossible.

 

Isn't Wellbutrin the US trade name for bupropion hydrochloride, and known as Bupropion here (and sold under the trade name Elontril from GlaxoSmithKline)?

Here's a Dutch internet store selling Elontril into Germany (but nonetheless requiring a prescription)

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Thanks for all the advice so far. And yes, westvan, one of the meds we're talking about is Wellbutrin. What can you tell me about obtaining it in Germany?

I don't have any personal experience but I read recently that bupropion (active ingredient in Wellbutrin) has been approved as an antidepressant in Germany since 2007. It's called Elontril here. Before 2007 the drug (under the name of Zyban) was supposed to only be prescribed to people trying to stop smoking but I believe it was also used "under the table" by some doctors to treat depression.

 

So you might have to shop around a bit, but hopefully you'll be able to find a doctor here who will get you what you need.

 

EDIT: YorkshireLad edited while I was editing. :D Now you've got everything twice.

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No you don't have a legal right to health care here, rather a responsibility to arrange adequate health insurance cover during your stay.

 

The only way I know about to get medication mailed here from abroad is to have it mailed to a pharmacy who will let you pick it up when they see your prescription.

 

Some medications are not on the list approved by the health insurers but a doctor could still write a private prescription.

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1. Do I, as a non-EU citizen, really have a legal right to health care coverage in Germany? It's wonderful if true--we in the US should be so civilized--ahem. Is there an official website I can visit to read more about this?

Here's a (long) thread on health insurance: Health insurance law changes from 1. Jan.2009

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No you don't have a legal right to health care here, rather a responsibility to arrange adequate health insurance cover during your stay.

But at the same time under most circumstances, and certainly when in bona fida employment a public insurance can neither refuse your application nor load your premiums for pre-existing conditions

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If you enter MEDICINES into the SEARCH box you will see from a number of threads that mailing medicines to Germany is a NO-GO.

WRONG! It depends on how the medicines are mailed.

 

If you did a search, you'd find a thread in which I explained how to do this. My mother came to visit me for a month once and neglected to fill a couple prescriptions before she left. While you can't post meds from one private individual to another, you CAN arrange for your pharmacy back home to post them to an Apotheke in Germany. You'll have to arrange payment for the meds and the postage at your pharmacy back home, and then you'll have to show an ID to pick them up at your Apotheke in Germany. Speak to them in advance to make sure they'll work with this arrangement, though - don't just pick one out of the phone book and expect them to be ok with it. They will likely get an invoice for the import taxes, which they will forward on to you. So in the end it's expensive and a pain in the ass, but it can be done.

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Another round of really helpful posts. We'll be covered by insurance via my husband's US employer, so, aside from the usual paperwork headaches associated with US health plans, we should be fine. That's great news about the Wellbutrin. And, should we not be able to find German equivalents for all of our US prescriptions, I'll definitely use the pharmacy-to-pharmacy mailing system. Thanks so much to everyone!

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I am living as an exchange student for the year in Germany and my pharmacy is trying to mail me a birth control prescription that my docotor was to slow to get through before I left because of some natural disaster emergency the month before I left. I need to know what to tell the pharmacist back home what to do with the medicine.. Help is greatly appreciated!

 

Do I just have to inform a customs/post office and pick it up there with ID. The doctor that prescribed is American coming from an American pharmacy and it is an extremely low dosage.. if that makes a difference at all. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Most medicines (prescription or not) are not permitted enter Germany by mail from outside the EU and are usually destroyed by German Customs on entry. They won't destroy it without advising you. Should you want to import a medicine and require permission to do so they will need to check:

 

 

  1. If it's a permitted medicine in Germany
  2. If the import of this medicine into Germany is permitted (has formal import permission)
  3. If it's labelled according to the German Arzneimittelgesetzes (German drug law)
  4. The package information insert is written in German

See German customs information

 

The bottom line is that most medicines (even over the counter or herbal preparations) from non EU countries don't comply and are destroyed.

 

Despite the large numbers of small German children you see on the streets here, birth control is also practised in Germany, so you should not have any problems getting it locally.

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Anastasie - you could possibly get the U.S. pharmacy to send it to a German pharmacy, but it would hardly be worth it. Much easier just to see a German doctor and have him/her write you a prescription.

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Is there some way I can have them mailed to a local Apotheke or something? Or can I use my prescription from my American Dr. here somehow? The post office on the American side said that when it is being mailed Directly from the Pharmacy to a Post office or some other place authorized to recieve medicine I shouldn't have any problems..?

My student insurance here will not cover the pills or the Dr. visit here because of the pills and the fact that I would have to see a gynecologist.

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Someone mentioned that you could have prescriptions mailed from a US pharmacy to a German one... I may need to do this next year, as they do not prescribe the medication I take in Germany, specifically Adderall. I've searched, but does anyone know if it's an issue if the meds aren't approved to be dispensed in Germany?

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Is there some way I can have them mailed to a local Apotheke or something?

 

 

  1. If it's a permitted medicine in Germany
  2. If the import of this medicine into Germany is permitted (has formal import permission)
  3. If it's labelled according to the German Arzneimittelgesetzes (German drug law)
  4. The package insert is written in German
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I've searched, but does anyone know if it's an issue if the meds aren't approved to be dispensed in Germany?

 

 

  1. If it's a permitted medicine in Germany
  2. If the import of this medicine into Germany is permitted (has formal import permission)
  3. If it's labelled according to the German Arzneimittelgesetzes (German drug law)
  4. The package insert is written in German
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