If you are visiting Thailand on holiday and need to bring in medicine or prescribed drugs, there are some regulations to be aware of. Although in many cases it won’t be a problem, check with the information and links below to be sure.
When bringing prescribed drugs into (or out of) Thailand, keep the medicine in the original, clearly labelled packaging. You should also carry with you a letter from your doctor or the qualified medical professional who prescribed the drugs.
What drugs and medicine are allowed?
You can bring medicine into Thailand with you if:
- It doesn’t contain controlled drugs (see list here)
- It is for personal use
- You have an accompanying letter from a medical professional
- The quantity doesn’t exceed 90* days of prescribed usage
As with many things in Thailand, there are official rules and there are unofficial rules. No doubt there are people travelling to Thailand who will say they have never had an issue or have brought in more than 90 days* supply of medications.
This is the advice listed on the website of the Royal Thai Embassy in London:
Bringing prescribed drugs into Thailand
This is the advice on Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
Information for travellers bringing prescribed medication into Thailand
*The information on the Thai Embassy website (as of October 2022) states 30 days, but the information from Thailand’s FDA says 90 days under legislation issued in 2021.
For some categories of prescribed drugs, travellers need to show the medication is for personal use and also apply for a permit in advance. This is applicable for drugs including:
For medicines which contain these drugs and others, you should get a permit from Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Applications can be made online at least two weeks in advance here:
Applications should be made via PC/laptop and not on a mobile phone. Once the permit is granted, it will be sent by email. You will need to print out the permit and bring it with you to Thailand.
Cannabis regulations have been eased in Thailand. However, it remains illegal to bring in cannabis or hemp to Thailand or take it out of the country.
Medicine which is normally prescription only in the UK or Ireland, may be available over the counter from Thai pharmacies. Brand names in Thailand are often different, but the active ingredients and reason for use may be the same. Many pharmacists in Thailand speak excellent English (especially in the main cities and resort areas) and are usually very helpful.
Flying to Thailand via another country
Different rules may apply if you are travelling to Thailand via another country. Some destinations have stricter rules compared to Thailand (e.g. Dubai) and travellers should check what is or isn’t permitted with their airlines and the relevant local authorities .
This article was compiled according to the information available in October 2022. The information here is a guide. Rules may change and it is up to the traveller to ensure they comply with Thai regulations. More information is available from the relevant Thai authorities:
Narcotics Control Division
Food and Drug Administration
Ministry of Public Health
Website: FDA, Ministry of Public Health
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