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Importing drugs restricted starting next year

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.

June 6, 2014    curtisakbar@
"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."

This policy discriminates those with complicated medical conditions. Doesn't the government think about the elderly or those in poor health? What if an ill tourist comes to Taiwan and is going to have a prolonged stay due to reuniting with their family, will the government take away all their medication?
June 6, 2014    nofatcataiwan@
This policy is ridiculous just like FATCA. The government here seems to be doing more harm than good for its people. This new drug law discriminates against honest people who import supplements for themselves. Those that are abusing it now have ruined it for everyone else! How can they honestly limit per year how much you bring in! Taiwan already has a policy of no more than NT$3000 per shipment per person per day, why do we need an additional policy?!

And when is the government going to separate drugs from supplements? They are vastly different! And used for vastly different reasons!

In addition, it appears the government is catering to those rich businessmen who are just out to make a buck! Supplements in Taiwan are already 3-5x times that of other countries! Import duty is high, and sellers are charging over double the cost for the products here! Many of the products I use for example cannot even be found in Taiwan!

People should be outraged by this, just like they should be outraged about FATCA! But will anything change? Probably not, but for the benefit of Taiwan, I certainly hope the government pulls its head of the clouds soon!
June 10, 2014    gauthier74@
curtisakbar@ wrote:
"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."

This policy discriminates those with complicated medical conditions. Doesn't the government think about the elderly or those in poor health? What if an ill tourist comes to Taiwan and is going to have a prolonged stay due to reuniting with their family, will the government take away all their medication?
Whenever I travel to the R.O.C., I bring with me various medications for personal use. What I do is the following: AT CKS Airport, I approach a customs officer, show him the prescriptions and the medication that I have got in the hand luggage. It always must last for one month. Never had an issue. I think customs officers appreciate it if you approach them that way, since it shows some honesty of the traveler.
June 11, 2014    curtisakbar@
gauther74@

With the new law, you may have to buy a permit before travelling, so even being honest and saying 'look this is what I have and why I need it' might not be enough. Who is going to count to see if they have 3000 pills? Some people need to take a minimum of 5 pills, four times a day. So those figures soon add up if someone is visiting for 3 months or more.

Yes, whenever I travel, I always ask before going through the green gate, I have this alcohol/food/drugs etc. do I need to declare it? Better safe than sorry.
June 16, 2014    gauthier74@
curtisakbar@ wrote:
gauther74@

With the new law, you may have to buy a permit before travelling, so even being honest and saying 'look this is what I have and why I need it' might not be enough. Who is going to count to see if they have 3000 pills? Some people need to take a minimum of 5 pills, four times a day. So those figures soon add up if someone is visiting for 3 months or more.

Yes, whenever I travel, I always ask before going through the green gate, I have this alcohol/food/drugs etc. do I need to declare it? Better safe than sorry.
Good points. I printed the article just in case. I always go for one month but I guess if I would go longer I would have to fetch the medications at a hospital. Anyway, thanks for pointing that out again.
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