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TAKING PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS IN TO SINGAPORE AND JAPAN - Be Careful!!

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I occasionally have to take a prescription drug containing a small amount of Codeine and was surprised to note that both Singapore and Japan have quite draconian laws relating to prescription and some over the counter medications.

 

Cold remedies containing Pseudoephedrine - such as Tylenol, Advil, Sudafed etc are all banned in both countries outright as this drug is a pre-cursor to meth-amphetamine. Australia and Middle Eastern countries are also hot on it.

 

Codeine is a narcotic and special permission has to be obtained for Singapore and Japan to take it in and out of the countries.

 

There are also long lists of other banned substances such as ******, ****** etc that are not allowed too.

 

Please make sure you check well before you travel and ensure that you get a prescription, Doctors Letter and any supporting permissions to take with you.

It may not be sufficient just to have a copy of your prescription!!

 

Osfan

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I was reading the same information today and made myself a BIG note to be sure to remove all meds from my purse before getting off the ship for tours. Don't know what to do in Shanghai as we are staying there three days post cruise and I need my meds. Hope the doctor's note and prescription will be ok. I sure don't want to spend years in a jail over there!

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You must check their rules and in most cases you can apply for permission. Make sure you do this in good time.

 

I am still waiting for formal approval from Japan who have stated that a Doctors letter is not enough.

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This would definitely be a problem for me. We're traveling to Japan in October and I have to take my epipen and benadryl due to food and medication allergies.

 

Does anybody know if any of these meds are a problem.

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They are the sites I used and the first application is called Yakkan Shoumei?

They then referred me to a Narcotics Officer and I am still awaiting final approval.

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Have been to China 4 times and am there this summer and never had a problem with any meds

Concerned as we will be in Singapore next year.

Same thing was told to us for New Zealand took a letter with and everything and no one ever looked at anything

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Took many medications into Singapore including Panadeine which has codeine in it no problem. I had a doctors letter but they hardly even gave it a look. They just asked if I had a letter. Jennifer

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Well I was just in Singapore, and we carried our prescription documentation with us, but were never asked about drugs.

 

We also carried plenty of ibuprofen, but no cold meds or anything with codeine.

 

I poked around some website, and I can't see anything that says that ibuprofen (Advil), is prohibited.

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Well I was just in Singapore, and we carried our prescription documentation with us, but were never asked about drugs.

 

We also carried plenty of ibuprofen, but no cold meds or anything with codeine.

 

I poked around some website, and I can't see anything that says that ibuprofen (Advil), is prohibited.

 

This PDF http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/dl/qa1.pdf has a lot of questions and answers.

 

From what I understand, you can bring in medications as long as they're for your personal use and it's less than one month supply. Advil is an anti-inflammatory. If you look at the form at the end of the PDF, anti-inflammaroty medication is part of the form request.

 

After reading a lot into this, I think it's okay as long as it's only one month's supply and for your own consumption. I will be calling the number on the form tomorrow to make sure.

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We will be disembarking from our ship in Tokyo and taking the ship's airport drop off excursion.

 

Does anyone know if this prescription drug thing will be an issue for us? Will we be going through customs in Tokyo before boarding our bus?

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This PDF http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/dl/qa1.pdf has a lot of questions and answers.

 

From what I understand, you can bring in medications as long as they're for your personal use and it's less than one month supply. Advil is an anti-inflammatory. If you look at the form at the end of the PDF, anti-inflammaroty medication is part of the form request.

 

After reading a lot into this, I think it's okay as long as it's only one month's supply and for your own consumption. I will be calling the number on the form tomorrow to make sure.

 

Hi,

 

I keep coming across that link you've also posted, and all I get is a blank (black, actually) webpage.

 

Has that been updated or moved?

 

We know we need that Yakkan Shoumei [pre-approval form] for some meds, and we are emailing the authorities in Japan about others, just in case.

Better safe than sorry!

 

But I can't figure out what is supposed to be on that one webpage. Odd.

I've seen the link in several places on TripAdvisor, too.

 

Thanks for any help.

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Hi,

 

I keep coming across that link you've also posted, and all I get is a blank (black, actually) webpage.

 

.

 

I just clicked on the link and got a .pdf file titled " Q & A

for those who are bringing medicines into Japan" It is 11 pages long

 

Do you have a .pdf reader on your computer?

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Been to both many many times and have never been asked, queried etc about the tablets etc I and my wife take with us.

 

We always make sure we have a letter from the Dr with us on our travels and have never ever been asked to produce this.

 

Call it luck, call it what you like, unless you are carrying commercial amounts or look "suspicious" then I can foresee no problems if you have the tablets in their original containers as issued by the chemist and a Dr's letter.

 

Don't get hung up on this if you can.

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I just clicked on the link and got a .pdf file titled " Q & A

for those who are bringing medicines into Japan" It is 11 pages long

 

Do you have a .pdf reader on your computer?

 

Thanks.

 

Yes, I do read pdf files all the time (and create them, too).

 

I've now tried that link from several very different sources, and this is the only time I get an entirely black page (solid black, not blank), every time. Never seen that before anywhere.

It's just strange.

 

Now that I know the link is still "good", I'll try this on another computer.

 

Thanks very much for the update.

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Thanks.

 

Yes, I do read pdf files all the time (and create them, too).

 

I've now tried that link from several very different sources, and this is the only time I get an entirely black page (solid black, not blank), every time. Never seen that before anywhere.

It's just strange.

 

Now that I know the link is still "good", I'll try this on another computer.

 

Thanks very much for the update.

 

Okay... thanks very much for your help.

It turns out something went wrong with the Adobe software.

I was able to open any pdf file currently saved on my computer, but it turned out I could not open any *newly downloaded* pdf files.

Did a full shut down of computer, rebooted, and all is well again.

 

At first, it looked like it was only this one site with a pdf that wouldn't open, and I figured the link wasn't valid anymore.

 

Thanks again.

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Glad it worked

 

Thanks again.

 

Now... to get started on those forms.

 

I understand that one can now email the forms back and forth.

 

In any event, I'm going to email them first, to clarify just which meds need the permissions.

I don't think most of our combined meds will be a problem, but there are a few I'm not sure about and one that definitely needs pre-approval/permission.

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This matter has been raised before and I have never never heard of anyone having a problem in taking their prescription medicines into Singapore.

 

If there had/has been a problem or incident I am sure we would have heard about it on here.

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We will be disembarking from our ship in Tokyo and taking the ship's airport drop off excursion.

 

Does anyone know if this prescription drug thing will be an issue for us? Will we be going through customs in Tokyo before boarding our bus?

 

Spent a week in Japan 2015. Arrived on ship in Osaka and then traveled by private car, train and plane. As far as I can remember, coming off the ship there was no inspection officers etc. They met us with a rocking marching band (as they did when we arrived in Nagasaki) friendly smiles and lots of welcome. I carried all 20 of my RX 's including ambien, arthritis meds, cold medicines and pain meds. I had a signed copy of my electronic record from Dr. office (electronic record lists medicines for each office visit and Dr. signed page.). In last 5 years have used this for medical record and list and entered New Zealand, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Shanghai, Bali, Thailand, Greece, France, Germany, Iceland, Greenland, Norway and probably a few others. Only place really pulled over was 10 years ago in Australia-- for having Pepto Bismal -- bismuth not allowed in Ozzieland so don't get a tummy ache! I am sort of worried about United Arab Emirates coming up in April 2017. Oh well march on.

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I occasionally have to take a prescription drug containing a small amount of Codeine and was surprised to note that both Singapore and Japan have quite draconian laws relating to prescription and some over the counter medications.

 

Cold remedies containing Pseudoephedrine - such as Tylenol, Advil, Sudafed etc are all banned in both countries outright as this drug is a pre-cursor to meth-amphetamine. Australia and Middle Eastern countries are also hot on it.

 

Codeine is a narcotic and special permission has to be obtained for Singapore and Japan to take it in and out of the countries.

 

There are also long lists of other banned substances such as ******, ****** etc that are not allowed too.

 

Please make sure you check well before you travel and ensure that you get a prescription, Doctors Letter and any supporting permissions to take with you.

It may not be sufficient just to have a copy of your prescription!!

 

Osfan

 

Very helpful,

Can you post a link with the current list of banned prescription drugs for Japan?

 

Thanks,

dog:)

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Very helpful,

Can you post a link with the current list of banned prescription drugs for Japan?

 

I always try to go straight to the source for this kind of information: http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/policy/health-medical/pharmaceuticals/01.html

 

(the US Embassy in Tokyo has some info on their website too, but caution people to rely ONLY on the Japanese govt, not on what information the US embassy has https://japan.usembassy.gov/e/acs/tacs-medimport.html )

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Been to Japan 10 times over the last 15 years, the last only 5 weeks ago. Also have been to Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong during the last year.

I always take a letter from my dr but have never been asked about any of my medication nor been asked for a letter. I take quite a supply including cancer medication and needles and syringes plus numerous painkillers, antibiotics, over the counter gastro items, cough cold asthma medication.

I do always tick the bringing in medication on the customs forms and write personal medication and also tell them when handing over the card that it is personal medication. Have been into all these places by both cruise ship and plane. I always go to the something to declare but get waved through. Maybe I have been lucky but never had an issue and never worried about it. Also have been to numerous european cities, again never been questioned.

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Just got back from Singapore a week ago and although I know "the rules are the rules" you would really have to do something to call attention to yourself to have a problem there.

 

Basically a whole ship full of people putting bags through an x-ray machine was the entire process, they weren't checking that closely that I could tell. (I am sure they know how to scan bags but I didn't see anyone pulled aside or even the machine slowing down)

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Been to mainland China HK Singapore and Australia as well as NZ. Never been asked for letter the only place I was warned about was Au and NZ yet no one asked and I carry inhalers and my husband has high blood pressure meds.

We travel for business all over China and only been stopped for a liquid over sized.

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I realize that this is an old thread but it's on topic with my situation. What if one is arriving in Japan and departing from Japan by ship and the medications stay on the ship. Do they still have to be declared when leaving for a shore excursion? I'll have no need for the medications while on land..I do have the Yakkan Shoumei for everything, but don't want to raise any issue that I don't need to.

 

I do understand that if I were flying in or out I would need to declare them as the medicines would be on Japanese soil.

 

Thanks for any assistance.

 

Tim

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I realize that this is an old thread but it's on topic with my situation. What if one is arriving in Japan and departing from Japan by ship and the medications stay on the ship. Do they still have to be declared when leaving for a shore excursion? I'll have no need for the medications while on land..I do have the Yakkan Shoumei for everything, but don't want to raise any issue that I don't need to.

 

I do understand that if I were flying in or out I would need to declare them as the medicines would be on Japanese soil.

 

Thanks for any assistance.

 

Tim

 

Interesting.

 

I also understand about not wanting to raise any alerts/alarms if not necessary.

 

My guess is... "What happens on the ship, stays on the ship", or something like that :)

BUT you ARE in Japanese territory/legal boundaries, etc., so I do think they have the right to come aboard and search, although the few times I've read about that (and never about Japan), it was for drug/smuggling busts.

I'd also be a bit concerned if they had dogs sniffing (openly or less obviously), depending upon what it is that you might have on hands or clothing.

 

We are arriving by air, so everything is coming in with us, so we're filing the paperwork, getting approvals. I think I'd probably do the same if we had things we were leaving on the ship, but who knows...?

 

Are the meds something that might only get confiscated (and could you make do without them IF that happened) or could something more serious happen?

The chance of this seems so very remote. Maybe do a Google search to see if there are any reports in Japan?

 

We just prefer to err on the cautious side. Most others here obviously have a different approach.

Turns out the most iffy med is an OTC, and it's almost forbidden (not Pepto Bismol, but similar situation with one ingredient). We've found a not-so-good substitute, so if they won't allow it, we'll be "almost okay", and it's not one of our "potentially very serious" health concerns.

 

Good luck.

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Interesting.

 

I also understand about not wanting to raise any alerts/alarms if not necessary.

 

My guess is... "What happens on the ship, stays on the ship", or something like that :)

BUT you ARE in Japanese territory/legal boundaries, etc., so I do think they have the right to come aboard and search, although the few times I've read about that (and never about Japan), it was for drug/smuggling busts.

I'd also be a bit concerned if they had dogs sniffing (openly or less obviously), depending upon what it is that you might have on hands or clothing.

 

We are arriving by air, so everything is coming in with us, so we're filing the paperwork, getting approvals. I think I'd probably do the same if we had things we were leaving on the ship, but who knows...?

 

Are the meds something that might only get confiscated (and could you make do without them IF that happened) or could something more serious happen?

The chance of this seems so very remote. Maybe do a Google search to see if there are any reports in Japan?

 

We just prefer to err on the cautious side. Most others here obviously have a different approach.

Turns out the most iffy med is an OTC, and it's almost forbidden (not Pepto Bismol, but similar situation with one ingredient). We've found a not-so-good substitute, so if they won't allow it, we'll be "almost okay", and it's not one of our "potentially very serious" health concerns.

 

Good luck.

 

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

These are all 'can't do without'. I do have the Yakkan Shoumei. We have only Aspirin and sons vitamins as OTC. None have banned substances.

 

I wonder what the ship does for its pharmacy meds.

 

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Thanks for the reply.

 

These are all 'can't do without'. I do have the Yakkan Shoumei. We have only Aspirin and sons vitamins as OTC. None have banned substances.

 

I wonder what the ship does for its pharmacy meds.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

We are filing the paperwork, because a few meds are also "can't do without".

We sent an initial email query, listing the ones we thought would required the Yakkan Shoumei, and also listed the "regulars", stating we assumed these were okay if in labeled Rx bottles, with physician letter. They flagged one of those as needing Yakkan Shoumei, and also told us that for one of those we assumed needed approval, we needed to get a separate approval from another Agency.

We heard back in about 24 hours.

Now we are about to file the paperwork, leaving plenty of time in case the Physician Letter isn't phrased the right way or something like that.

 

I'd guess Ship Medical Centers are covered under something other than "tourist" regs. I hadn't thought about that.

They probably either are exempt somehow or have some sort of standing permissions. Just a guess.

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I have been flying into and out of Tokyo about 10 times every year for the past 35 years, sometimes as a tourist, and sometimes as a resident.

During all those trips, I have carried many, many medications with me ( no codeine or opiates ). But I have carried syringes and vials of blood thinners, antihistamines, steroids, and other questionable items.

Not once has any official asked me - in English or Japanese - anything about all those medications. Maybe I have just been lucky?

 

Now I am looking at a box of Ibuprofen I purchased over the counter at a pharmacy in Ginza yesterday. The brand name is Ringl.

It may be the case that it is legal to purchase in Japan, but illegal to import ??? I doubt it.

 

My wife is returning from California on Saturday with a one year supply of Ibuprofen for me. It is far less expensive in the USA. She will not have any special doctor's letter, and will not have any difficulty bringing it home.

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I have been flying into and out of Tokyo about 10 times every year for the past 35 years, sometimes as a tourist, and sometimes as a resident.

During all those trips, I have carried many, many medications with me ( no codeine or opiates ). But I have carried syringes and vials of blood thinners, antihistamines, steroids, and other questionable items.

Not once has any official asked me - in English or Japanese - anything about all those medications. Maybe I have just been lucky?

 

Now I am looking at a box of Ibuprofen I purchased over the counter at a pharmacy in Ginza yesterday. The brand name is Ringl.

It may be the case that it is legal to purchase in Japan, but illegal to import ??? I doubt it.

 

My wife is returning from California on Saturday with a one year supply of Ibuprofen for me. It is far less expensive in the USA. She will not have any special doctor's letter, and will not have any difficulty bringing it home.

 

I don't think that anyone is suggesting that ibuprophren would cause problems, and especially if it is easily purchased within the country.

 

There is a rather clear list of which meds have issues and might need some planning.

The OTC med I mentioned had one very obvious ingredient that can cause difficulties in quite a few countries, and it was also on that list.

 

If one plans or wants to bring in a substance that is clearly stated as needing some sort of clearance/approval, it just seems prudent to manage it that way. And it isn't terrible difficult.

We always have a physician letter with us regarding a few key meds anyway, and in this case, we just need to send a copy of that in advance.

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We may have been the lucky ones. We have been in and out of Japan and Singapore several times in the last few years and not encountered any questioning or problems regarding medications. In fact, Singapore immigration/custom was very fast and efficient.

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We may have been the lucky ones. We have been in and out of Japan and Singapore several times in the last few years and not encountered any questioning or problems regarding medications. In fact, Singapore immigration/custom was very fast and efficient.

 

 

Indeed. It's not an issue taking in prescription medications. At all. I've been to Singapore, like many Aussies, many many times.

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As with all rules - it's only "not an issue" until someone catches you and you haven't followed the letter of their law, and they feel like enforcing it and/or making an example of you....

 

And then people complain loudly on sites like this.....So better to recommend people follow the rules, no matter how (in)frequently they might be enforced. As with anything (esp on forums where we're mostly amateurs) - YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary. You don't have to follow the rules if you've done a risk assessment and are ok with potential outcomes. But there *are* rules.....

 

We did the appropriate paperwork to bring Ambien to Singapore (as well as followed the liquor import rules). Customs never looked at us as we exited the airport;p

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As with all rules - it's only "not an issue" until someone catches you and you haven't followed the letter of their law, and they feel like enforcing it and/or making an example of you....

 

And then people complain loudly on sites like this.....So better to recommend people follow the rules, no matter how (in)frequently they might be enforced. As with anything (esp on forums where we're mostly amateurs) - YMMV - Your Mileage May Vary. You don't have to follow the rules if you've done a risk assessment and are ok with potential outcomes. But there *are* rules.....

 

We did the appropriate paperwork to bring Ambien to Singapore (as well as followed the liquor import rules). Customs never looked at us as we exited the airport;p

 

This is exactly right.

And everyone can make their own decision about "whether the potential consequences are worth whatever the <chance of getting caught> is".

If it's a small fine, and the work needed is substantial, sure, we might not bother, IF we were certain it was *only* that small fine!

 

 

But if the risk includes being turned away (or worse), well, I doubt the Travel Insurance would cover that type of loss, if it was because we never bothered...

 

QUESTION: For Japan, if one has the appropriate paperwork/approvals, do you need to "declare"? Is there a separate line? Or does one just walk right through a "nothing to declare" line because it's already been declared?

 

Trying to figure out if this will (or is likely to) cause a lot of extra time before we get to the arrivals hall.

 

Thank you.

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We may have been the lucky ones. We have been in and out of Japan and Singapore several times in the last few years and not encountered any questioning or problems regarding medications. In fact, Singapore immigration/custom was very fast and efficient.

Hello,

I am at the present panicking as my husband uses electronic cigarette, has done for 10 years since he had a brain haemorrhage and had to give up tobacco, we depart cruise ship and are staying in Singapore for 4 days, do they search you and luggage as you get off the cruise ship? Also I have co-codomol on prescription and Ibuprofen as I had a disk fusion, usually carry some in case of need, do I need to go through the rigmarole of getting approval for small supply of each.

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Hello,

I am at the present panicking as my husband uses electronic cigarette, has done for 10 years since he had a brain haemorrhage and had to give up tobacco, we depart cruise ship and are staying in Singapore for 4 days, do they search you and luggage as you get off the cruise ship? Also I have co-codomol on prescription and Ibuprofen as I had a disk fusion, usually carry some in case of need, do I need to go through the rigmarole of getting approval for small supply of each.

 

Neither myself or my luggage have been searched when leaving the ship. At the arrival hall in Singapore, there are machines and body scanners. The security personnel would check luggage at random. So it's a matter of chance.

 

In Singapore, e-cigs are prohibited items and not allowed here. For medications, it's controlled but allowed. You are required to have a physician's prescription certifying these medication.

 

Of course, this is IF you are picked randomly for a check.

 

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Spent a month in Sing last year, traveled every weekend (so flew in a total of 4 times) and brought all of my meds with me every time. I'm a walking pharmacy with 4-5 RXs at any time, plus Prevacid, Advil, Advil PM, DayQuil, NyQuil and some probiotics. Never had an issue. Not there, or anywhere in SEA, nor the Middle East.

 

 

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