Importing drugs restricted starting next year
The China Post news staff
June 6, 2014, 12:05 am TWN
Starting from July next year, the government will impose restrictions on bringing and mailing over-the-counter drugs and supplements to Taiwan from abroad.
People will not be allowed to bring in or mail more than 1,200 vitamin tablets to Taiwan; furthermore, people will only be allowed to send no more than two batches in a given year.
Those who fail to follow the regulations will be fined.
Starting from July 1, 2015, people will need to apply for a permit from the Food and Drug Administration in order to mail over-the-counter drugs to Taiwan. No more than 12 bottles, tubes or 1,200 tablets of nonprescription drugs may be mailed. Furthermore, the permit can only be applied for once in a six-month period. Prescription drugs and medical items such as contact lenses need to come with documentation of the prescription in order to be mailed.
People coming to Taiwan from abroad with medication also need to apply beforehand if the drugs exceed the stated limit, and no more than six types of medication may be brought into the country.
Under current regulations, when people are caught bringing or mailing an excess quantity of medication to Taiwan, they have a choice of either forfeiting the drugs or applying for a permit, FDA official Tai Hsueh-yung (戴雪詠) said, adding, however, that once the new regulations come into effect in July 2015, depending on the severity of the offense, offenders may face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
Unauthorized Drugs on the Market
There have been reports of unauthorized botulinum toxin from South Korea and unauthorized placenta extract from mainland China spreading into the medical aesthetics market.
The government has discovered that in recent years people have been sending unauthorized medication to Taiwan through mail and courier services, and that the drugs were then sold in order to reap huge profits.
An unnamed pharmaceutical company was quoted by local media as saying that some clinics have been claiming to be using its products without any record showing that they had procured the products through the proper channels, which means that either the drugs were brought in from overseas illegally or that they are counterfeit.
Most of the illegally imported drugs that have been confiscated include sexual performance enhancement drugs, placenta extracts, botulinum toxin, painkillers and Chinese medicine tablets, according to official records.