There are rules about bringing medicines and medical devices into Australia. Many medicines and medical devices can be brought with you into Australia if they are for your personal use. Some require a permit or prescription and others cannot be brought with you at all.
Your medicine or device may be covered by the traveller’s exemption, or you may belong in a special category.
It is against the law to bring medicines and medical devices into Australia to give to someone else.
The traveller's exemption allows you to bring certain medicines and medical devices into Australia for your personal use or the use by an immediate family member who is travelling with you, without needing special permission.
- medicines that lower blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose and/or gastric acid
- contraception medicines (birth control pill)
- blood glucose monitoring devices, and
- medications to aid sleep (sedatives).
There are some requirements that need to be followed for the traveller’s exemption:
- Do not bring medicines or medical devices into Australia for anyone other than yourself or an immediate family member travelling with you (i.e. a child travelling with a parent)
- Do not sell or supply the product to another person.
- Keep the product in its original packaging with dispensing labels (if possible) so they can be easily identified.
- For prescription medicines, carry the prescription or letter from your doctor that outlines what you are taking and how much you are bringing with you
- Do not bring in more than a 3-month supply
- Take any remaining medicines or devices with you when you leave Australia
- Comply with requests and directions from customs officers.
Individuals can travel with medicinal cannabis under the traveller’s exemption. Further information can be found on our website: Medicinal cannabis: importation and the traveller's exemption.
Herbal and traditional medicine products
If you want to bring any herbal and traditional medicines with you, check they are allowed under Australian law. Keep these medicines in their original packaging so the Australian Border Force can identify what the substances are and can determine if the products are subject to any import restrictions. If they contain ingredients from endangered plants, they are subject to import controls and require a permit. This includes Hoodia and weight loss products derived from Hoodia. Find out more at the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website.
Any medicine or medical device that contains a biological, which is material taken from living cells and tissues, is subject to quarantine procedures and must be declared at the border. Learn more at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website
Sports teams and athletes
Visiting sports teams and athletes must comply with special rules when visiting Australia to participate in a national or international sporting event. They should prepare for their visit to Australia well in advance. Organisers should follow these general rules:
- prepare a list of medicines and medical devices participants are bringing with them. This list must be in English and include the medicines and their strengths
- maintain a record of the medicines and their use while the team is in Australia. This list must be produced if requested by an Australian Border Force officer
- check the list of substances which are subject to import controls. There are some additional restrictions for substances that athletes can import
- medicines brought by the team must not be given or sold to anyone who is not an official athlete or member of the sports team
- medicines and medical devices brought by the team must not be used by anyone who is not an official athlete or member of the sports team
- any unused medicines or devices must be dropped off to a local pharmacy for destruction before leaving or taken with you when you leave Australia
- an official member of the visiting team must be responsible for any medicines and medical devices and how they are used.
For further guidance for travelling as part of a sporting team, visit the Office of Drug Control website.