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5-Month Trip and Prescription Medications

5-Month Trip and Prescription Medications

Apr 15th, 2019, 02:26 PM
  #1  
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5-Month Trip and Prescription Medications

I'm planning a 5-month trip in SE Asia starting October 2019. I'm concerned about how to handle my 3 prescriptions (non-narcotic) while gone for so long.

I've read that several SE Asian countries do not allow you to bring in more than a 30 day supply of prescription medications. Does anyone have more info on this. We plan on visiting Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, & Laos.

Also, it's likely I would need to get refills while in SE Asia. Is this easy to do? The drugs I need are common (at least in the U.S.). I have read to only use a reputable pharmacy that is air-conditioned (for quality control of meds).

Any advice on best countries and/or best pharmacies in those countries is very appreciated!

Thanks
Tracy
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 15th, 2019, 05:09 PM
  #2  
 
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Thailand does have some pretty good private and chain pharmacies. If they have what you need depends on how common your meds are. There are some pharmacies in some of the modern supermarkets too.

Besides the particular brand names have the generic equivalents. Aspirins, antacids, Tylenol, various creams and lotions available. Sunscreen, mouthwash, toothpaste and lots of stuff available over the counter.

This expat forum has some info on available pharmacy drugs:
https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/685...e-in-thailand/

Sample store below:
Home page




Availability depends on what you need. Check the expiration dates for meds you buy in pharmacies.

In Bangkok hospitals doctors can write prescriptions for meds that their pharmacy can fill.

Good luck.

Last edited by SirHalberd; Apr 15th, 2019 at 05:13 PM.
SirHalberd is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 12:44 AM
  #3  
 
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I recall being in a pharmacy in Siem Reap, Cambodia and they had several of our prescriptions available as over the counter medications at less cost than our drug plan co-pays. Can you order refills online feom a mail order phrmacy and have a family member or friend mail them them to you in Asia?
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 03:21 AM
  #4  
 
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Fake or counterfeit meds are a big problem in SE Asia if you can, I would bring what you need with you. Unless you are a suspicious looking character, I very much doubt that you would ever get stopped. To err on the side of caution, bring copy prescriptions with you.

In Thailand I would buy from Boots or Tesco Lotus who operate to the same standards as they do here in the U.K. In Vietnam I would only use pharmacies attached to major hospitals in Saigon or Hanoi. In Cambodia and Laos, I would avoid buying drugs completely.
crellston is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 04:23 AM
  #5  
 
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What are the prescriptions you are bringing with you?

Any of your meds needed to keep you alive?

--

Know your visa requirements for each country. If you first fly into Thailand and intend to get the free 30 day Visa Exemption stamp in your passport you need a verifiable flight out of Thailand within 30 days. I mention this because some tourists intend to fly into Thailand and then use bus or private transportation to other countries.
https://thailand971.wordpress.com/

Know how to handle your money too. DO NOT rely on a single debit card for cash. You can lose a single card or someone can steal it. Have credit cards for unplanned emergencies that may come up too. Some type of insurance good for paying doctors and hospital visits is recommended. This way you won't have to end up on the internet with "Go Fund Me" type posts for money to pay for accidents that you may have.

Good luck.
SirHalberd is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 06:09 AM
  #6  
 
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I don't think you will have issue bringing in more than a 30 day supply of meds. Yes bring the prescriptions too as a precaution. I echo what Crellston has said about fake meds in SE Asia and add that QC is suspect in some places I think so if possible bring all you need.
jacketwatch is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 08:50 AM
  #7  
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Thanks - that about sums up what I'm hearing & learning. I will try to bring my meds if I possibly can - it's hard to get 5-6 months worth here in the states, but I'll do my best!
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 08:54 AM
  #8  
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I"d rather not post my meds on a public forum. I won't die without them, but would get quite ill. I guess I could die without one, but not immediately. haha. We plan on getting medical coverage for our trip - including evacuation, etc. We always bring a couple of different debit cards from different accounts, as well as a couple of credit cards. Great advice!

Regarding a flight out - I've heard mixed advice on if you MUST have a flight out or you can have a bus ticket (my brother has done the bus ticket route). We really wanted to wing it a bit and not have set dates, but maybe we will have to. Do you have any first hand experience with that issue?

Thank you.

Tracy
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 05:03 PM
  #9  
 
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If you intend to enter Thailand with the FREE 30 day Visa Exemption stamp enforcement might be at your DEPARTURE airport back home. Acceptable proof would be a verifiable booked flight out of Thailand before 30 days is up. You may be lucky but at the airport with ticket in hand is not the time to find out you can't board. Go early and if denied boarding you have time to book a flight with your computer. Lots of cheap flights from Bangkok to nearby countries. (Bangkok has 2 airports by the way so know which one you fly from if booking a flight.)

Good luck.

Last edited by SirHalberd; Apr 16th, 2019 at 05:07 PM.
SirHalberd is offline  
Apr 16th, 2019, 06:01 PM
  #10  
 
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Regarding you medication question, I would first start by stockpiling all you can now. Insurance carriers will typically let you fill a prescription at 23 days, rather than making you wait until 30 days. Ask your pharmacy when the next fill date is for each of your medications, and have them fill them all at 23 days, repeatedly, until you leave. Also, ask you doctor for samples.

Next, you should call your insurance carrier and explain your international travel plans. You should be able to get a vacation override, since you are leaving the country. Do not take no for an answer, if they tell you they can only give you a 30 day supply. Talk to a supervisor, and file an appeal if necessary.

I would keep all the meds in the original bottles. Ask your pharmacy to use the smallest bottles possible, so they don't take up much room, and I would carry them in my hand luggage.
CaliforniaLady is offline  
Apr 17th, 2019, 06:05 AM
  #11  
 
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If you are worried about the 30 day visa free entry, get an actual visa. A three month single entry appears to be $40 for US citizens.

If you can't get enough medication from your drug plan look into the online Canadian pharmacies. Or see how much you would pay outside your drug plan with GoodRX.com.
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 17th, 2019, 08:32 AM
  #12  
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Thanks much. Yes, I've already considered buying them independent of my insurance plan - and the cost through goodRX.

Why do you think that getting a 90 day VISA would prevent the Thai officials from enforcing the 30 day max prescriptions? Seems like that would apply no matter what VISA I have.

Thank you!

Tracy
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 17th, 2019, 08:33 AM
  #13  
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Thanks - yes, I've been trying to stockpile already. I have a new doctor and she wasn't too keen on my stockpiling them for the trip. Not sure if she really understands the situation. I have another appt with her and will try to be more clear!

I did call on a vacation override and did get NO for an answer (no override at ALL!!), but am planning on calling and talking to a supervisor, appealing, etc. Good idea.

Thank you,
Tracy
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 17th, 2019, 08:37 AM
  #14  
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Have you heard of this service, onewayfly? They book you a real, verifiable (refundable) ticket for a small fee (it's $19 usd), then after your fly date they cancel it and get the full refund. I wonder if anyone has used this service?

https://onewayfly.com/en/?ref=7
TrueSeattle is offline  
Apr 17th, 2019, 09:58 AM
  #15  
 
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>>Why do you think that getting a 90 day VISA would prevent the Thai officials from enforcing the 30 day max prescriptions? Seems like that would apply no matter what VISA I have.<<

As I read the posts I believe the 90 visa, and 30 days meds limitation are two entirely different issues. I don't see where anyone mentioned a 90 day visa would get a larger medication allowance.
janisj is online now  
Apr 17th, 2019, 10:42 AM
  #16  
 
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Why do you think that getting a 90 day VISA would prevent the Thai officials from enforcing the 30 day max prescriptions?
I said nothing about a 90 day visa and the 30 day limit on prescriptions. I was talking about the 30 day visa-free entry requirement for a plane ticket out.

What is stopping you buying your own refundable plane ticket and canceling it yourself (BEFORE the fly date)???
thursdaysd is offline  
Apr 18th, 2019, 03:57 AM
  #17  
 
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Flying from Bangkok to nearby countries is not that expensive.
Air Asia often has some special prices.

https://thethaiger.com/news/regional...ietnam-flights

https://www.airasia.com/en/gb

(Bangkok has 2 airports, Don Muang and Suvarbabhumi. Both do international flights. BKK, Suvarnabhumi is the newest and biggest airport.)
SirHalberd is offline  
Apr 18th, 2019, 10:25 AM
  #18  
 
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I really think the visa thing is a non issue. We have flown into Bangkok many times usually at the start of a six month or more trip to Asia with no fixed plans and not once have we been asked to produce an onward ticket at check in either at many different departure airports or on arrival in Bangkok. The only people likely to be challenged are grungy backpackers who look as though they can’t support themselves or ex pats with lots of Thai immigration stamps in their passports from multiple visa runs.

As far as prescription drugs are concerned, again, it is highly unlikely to be an issue. However, if by chance, you are transiting via and of the Arab emirates like Dubai, then I would be very careful. they routinely arrest people for possession of over the counter painkillers like co-codamol.
crellston is offline  
Apr 18th, 2019, 11:44 AM
  #19  
 
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However, if by chance, you are transiting via and of the Arab emirates like Dubai, then I would be very careful.

Interesting. We used to buy some prescription drugs over the counter in Gulf countries. We'd also routinely take a year's worth of meds into Saudi Arabia and Kuwait when we lived there (as well as Indonesia) and never had a problem (we did carry our prescriptions, but were never asked to produce them).

I realize things change though.

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 18th, 2019 at 11:48 AM.
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