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Export of human blood/tissue and related materials (including bodies & cremated remains)

22 October 2010

Human blood, tissue and related materials

The exportation from Australia of human blood, organs and substances derived from human blood is prohibited, unless:

  • approval is obtained in writing from the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and such approval is produced to the Collector of Customs; or
  • the goods are exempt from the above requirement.

These requirements exist, inter alia, to ensure that blood and related products (e.g. immunoglobulin, factor VIII), which are sourced from volunteer donations within Australia, are not exported without the knowledge and advice of the Australian Red Cross. This will help avoid the situation where these goods are in short supply in Australia. The legislative basis for these requirements is found in Regulation 8 and Schedule 6 (reproduced below) of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958.

SCHEDULE 6

GOODS THE EXPORTATION OF WHICH IS PROHIBITED IF PERMISSION IS NOT GRANTED UNDER REGULATION 8

(regulation 8)


Item Description of goods

1

Human body fluids, organs and other tissue:

  1. including a part or constituent of material of that kind, if the internal volume of the immediate container in which the material is packed exceeds 50 ml; and
  2. excluding viable material derived from human embryo clones.
2 A substance derived from human blood

Applications for permission to export materials contained in Schedule 6 of the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations 1958 may be made to the Export Unit, Office of Medicines Authorisation, of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. The application form is available below.

Not obtaining a permit prior to export exposes the individual to the risk of the export of the goods being refused by the Australian Customs Service, should the shipment be detected.

TGA treats these situations on a case-by-case basis as they vary from a response to a natural disaster involving thousands through to an individual Australian traveller abroad. For more information, phone the Export Unit of the TGA on 02 6232 8638.

Application form

How to access a pdf or Word document

This form is available in pdf and Microsoft Word formats. The pdf form can be filled in and saved to your computer using Adobe Reader version 7 or later or any version of Adobe Acrobat Standard or Professional. If you have an earlier version of Adobe Reader you can fill in the form on-screen and print it out but you will not be able to save the completed form.

Bodies and cremated remains

On the face of it the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations would seem to have an impact on the export of human remains. However, it is not the intention of the legislation to interfere with deceased remains being exported for interment in other countries. No application or permission to export is required in this situation.

However, check with your State health authorities as requirements for handling and storage of the deceased may vary from State to State.

You are also advised to check the requirements of the overseas health authority to where the remains are to be exported.