Unsealed pills ok for airlines?

Old Nov 18th, 2014, 12:40 PM
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Unsealed pills ok for airlines?

Hey Guys!

I have left over malaria pills that I never used and want to bring them with me to South Africa just to have incase I travel into an area that is not Malaria free. This is a weird question but, if I no longer have them in the bottle that had the prescription on it, can I still put them in my checked luggage and get into the country fine with them?

Basically, the pills would be in a bag or whatever, unsealed, not in their original prescription bottle. Curious if security would confiscate them because I no longer have my prescription? (Either in the US or once in South Africa) I realize most loose pills are fine, but because they are not just over the counter medicine I don't want to risk loosing them if I don't have to. Let me know. thanks!
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 01:47 PM
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Sure -- you can even put them in your carry on (which is where all necessary meds should be BTW)
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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The TSA does not care about medication; they care about bombs and weapons. As I have said before - think logically. Even a pharmacist can not have total recall for pill recognition. So as long as it is a small number of pills, I would put them in a bag or small bottle and label as whatever you want.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 01:36 PM
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The usual mis-information and opinion based on little real knowledge of the law.

1. It MAY be illegal to carry a prescription medication' even within a given state in the USA' that is not in a prescription bottle. For example the Connecticut statute section 21a-248 states:
"A person to whom or for whose use any narcotic drug has been prescribed, sold or dispensed by a physician, dentist, pharmacist or other person authorized under the provisions of section 21a-248, and the owner of any animal for which any such drug has been prescribed, sold or dispensed may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to the recipient by the person selling or dispensing the same except as may be authorized by regulations adopted hereunder." This law only applies to narcotic drugs, however, not to all prescription drugs.

Nor do I think anyone here knows what the law in the countries you might transit through or your destination country is. To ASSUME it is ok is pretty foolish in my opinion. To advise someone else that it is 'OK' is irresponsible in my opinion.

How do you expect a Police Officer or a Customs Officer in an airport to know what your pills really are if they are not in a prescription bottle with your name on it? Take your word for it?

Here is the REAL point. Carrying any medication can raise questions at home or when travelling. The easier it is for the official to confirm what it is the better for you. NO ONE can guarantee you there will be 'no problem' with pills out of the prescription bottle or even IN one.

It is not unusual for Customs doing a randon check on luggage and coming across medication even in a prescription bottle to do a check against a 'pill identifier' such as this one: http://www.rxlist.com/pill-identific...ol/article.htm
After all, if no one ever checked what was in a prescription bottle it would make a real easy way to smuggle illegal drugs don't you think?

When you travel with medication there is NO sure fire, no you won't get questioned answer. Travelling with medication does have some associated risks attached no matter what anyone says. There are too many variables.

On another point, not all anti-malarial drugs are equal when in comes to efficacy. You don't say what anti-malarial you have. If it is Chloroqhine it is not recommended for S. Africa. Read here: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers...y_table/s.html

The other point is 'shelf life'. How old are your pills and are they still effective or not? Have you checked? They don't stay effective forever you know. Example:
http://www.malaria.com/questions/malarone-shelf-lif
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 03:59 PM
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Neither I nor the poster above me proclaimed having knowledge of the law. Millions of p[eople travel every day with meds pre-poured into a med planner or other such tray. Please cite one case where medications which were not packaged in original prescription bottle created a problem for a raveler carrying a reasonable amount for personal (not smuggling) use.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 04:20 PM
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I realize my experience is anecdotal but I've traveled all over the world (US, Europe, Africa Asia, Australia, South America, etc.) during the last 30+ years (anywhere from 10 to 30 different flights per year) and always bring my prescription drugs with me in my carry-on but rarely carry them in their original container. I've carried anywhere from a few day to 6 month's supply. Neither I nor my spouse have NEVER been asked by the airline, TSA (since 9/11) or any customs agent to show a copy of my prescription, the original bottles, a note from my doctor nor have we ever had to answer any questions about our prescriptions. For me and my spouse carrying a reasonable amount of prescription drugs on an airplane is simply a "non-issue".
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 05:37 PM
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gail: Forget it, sj just looks for opportunities to lecture. Most just tune him out.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 05:47 PM
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The only time I ever remember there ever being any problem with pills at the airport I worked at was when a pax was so disoriented and out of it that the LEOs asked her what she was taking. They looked at all her pills to make sure she had no narcotics. The airline did not want her to fly if she was wacked. She took them out of her bag. They are looking for weapons and ieds not pills. This was an airline call and had nothing to do with customs, tsa or the police. We had a system, if you looked drunk or high. We watched you as you walked down the ramp. It is the best sobriety test. The pilot doesn't want you flying you won't fly. Some of those older people have their carry on bags filled with meds. Carry your pills any way you want. I put mine in the seven day carriers. Never a problem. Yes, I know we don't know rules in every country but don't think four pills will cause any trouble.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 06:56 PM
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I wouldn't tune out all of what Sojourn qrote. Personally, I thought this:
<When you travel with medication there is NO sure fire, no you won't get questioned answer.>
is true, in the sense that all airport screening these days is a crapshoot. You just never know for sure what will be OK or not OK.

This seems like a good point, too:
<On another point, not all anti-malarial drugs are equal when in comes to efficacy. You don't say what anti-malarial you have. If it is Chloroqhine it is not recommended for S. Africa. Read here: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/country_table/s.html>

Anecdotally--ahem--I always have loose pills on me, some Rx outside their bottle. I have never been questioned about them. So I would agree with most posters here that it will probably be fine.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 06:54 AM
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Letters from an MD about anything flight-related are rarely considered valid for anything. Give someone 5 minutes, a computer, a printer, and they can create an MD letter stating just about anything - on credible-looking letterhead
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 07:13 AM
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The plural of anecdote is not data. Regardless of how many thousands of people travel with medication not in a prescription bottle, that does not mean that any INDIVIDUAL will not be subject to a hassle at least. It is irrelevant to the OP if 5678 people say they had no problem if he ends up being the ONE person who does get hassled.

Therefore the only real advice anyone should give is that there is SOME risk and no one can guarantee you anything. Again, to say 'Sure you can even put them in your carry-on' or 'the TSA does not care about medication' is taking a very simplistic view which is NOT 100% true.

Gail, if you don't believe what I am saying, why don't YOU do some homework to determine if I am correct or not, rather than asking ME to prove what I have said? Prove I am wrong, I've already provided evidence to back up my comments, what evidence have you provided that says otherwise? Answer, none.

But if you need me to look for you then here you go:
http://www.travelandleisure.com/arti...on-for-trouble

You wrote, "Please cite one case where medications which were not packaged in original prescription bottle created a problem for a raveler carrying a reasonable amount for personal (not smuggling) use." Well that article shows you that not ONLY someone using a non-prescription bottle has to know what the law is if they plan to carry medication into another country, even those with medication IN a prescription bottle need to know and even NON-prescription medications like Dristan or Tylenol can get you hassled!

Having an uninformed opinion is not a crime. Being unwilling to acknowledge when your opinion is wrong should be a crime.

TSA are not the ONLY people who you need to satisfy. TSA themselves state, "TSA does not require passengers to have medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply."

Confirmation of what I have already said above about individual states and for which I have provided EVIDENCE. Besides states in the USA, a traveller also needs to consider COUNTRIES and their individual laws.

But even where it is quite legal, the issue is whether or not you might get hassled. Having done nothing illegal means nothing when you are hassled and held up at an airport for hours while they check things out.

Carrying pills outside of the prescription bottle INCREASES the chances of hassle. It's as simple as that. If the OP understands that is the risk and chooses to take that risk then that is an informed decision and is up to the OP. But not telling the OP there is a risk and implying or outright saying, 'sure, no problem' is irresponsible.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:48 AM
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gail, that's not a bad idea, actually--I mean, we shouldn't encourage fraud, but if you know the pills are legal, printing off a letter to wave at agents might work, no??
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 08:50 AM
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Sorry, should have thought a bit more before hitting Submit.

The letter need not be fraudulent. It could just be official looking, saying that such-and-such doctor prescribed such-and-such drug on such-and-such date, for this purpose, name of clinic or practice, and so on.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 05:19 PM
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I have seen the light and now have wisdom. When traveling internationally always bring at least 1 pharmacist, 1 physician, 1 attorney.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 10:25 PM
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What are these tablets? I know you no longer have the label, but please tell me you know their name. "Malaria pills" isn't specific enough.

How old are these tablets and where have you been storing them? Loose tablets outside the bottle degrade a lot more quickly.
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Old Nov 21st, 2014, 11:17 PM
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I travel all over with my pills in little zip lock bags.

For my own safety, I have the name of the medication, dose, and purpose written on each bag, (e.g.. Ciproflaxin XX mg. Twice a day w/ food for infection).

Have never had any customs or TSA agents ask about them.

If inspectors think you are carrying illegal drugs, I really doubt a prescription bottle would stop them from further questioning.

You do want to be sure your antimalarials are the recommended type for your destination.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 07:46 AM
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"I have seen the light and now have wisdom. When traveling internationally always bring at least 1 pharmacist, 1 physician, 1 attorney."

Is that your way of saying you don't like to admit being wrong gail? You wrote, " Please cite one case where medications which were not packaged in original prescription bottle created a problem for a raveler carrying a reasonable amount for personal (not smuggling) use."

You implied that such a thing does not happen. I provided you a link with examples showing it does indeed happen. Now you want to avoid the point and instead turn to sarcasm to do so.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 02:11 PM
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Nothing more current than a 15 year old article from a travel magazine that says "interrogations and confiscations are rare but harrowing" and lists a few occasions without citing sources?

I googled and I did find this on the official TSA website. "Passengers are allowed to bring medications in pill or other solid form through security screening checkpoints in unlimited amounts, as long as they are screened. TSA does not require passengers to have medications in prescription bottles, but states have individual laws regarding the labeling of prescription medication with which passengers need to comply."

See: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-informat...eds-medication
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 03:17 PM
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I'm still waiting for the OP to come back with a name for these tablets. If s/he can't identify what they are beyond "malaria pills," then this whole plan is a really bad idea.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2014, 03:26 PM
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I avoided the health care issues related to "malaria pills" - but I agree. Especially since a call to ones PCP would likely get a renewal over the phone or if that was not an option many large hospitals have a travelers clinic that would do the same. If OP can afford to go to South Africa, they could pay for the minimal additional cost for safe and effective medication.
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