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Getting supplies of your epilepsy medicine outside the UK

This information is relevant to people who live in the UK.

If you are going to be spending some time abroad, there may be times when you need to get extra supplies of your epilepsy medicine. For example if:

  • Your medicine is lost or stolen
  • You are delayed getting home
  • Your doctor can’t prescribe enough medicine to cover your whole trip

Will my medicine be available in the country I’m visiting?

It’s possible your epilepsy medicine might not be available in the country or countries you are visiting, or it might be called something else. So before you travel, it’s a good idea to check:

  • Is your epilepsy medicine available in each country you will be visiting?
  • If it is, what is it called?

You can find out this information by phoning the drug companies that make your epilepsy medicine. Their details should be printed on the box or on the patient information leaflet.

My medicine is available in the country I’m visiting. How can I get supplies of it?

If your medicine is available in the country you are visiting, you can get a prescription from a doctor there. You will usually need to show the doctor a copy of your prescription or a letter from your family doctor in the UK. You may need to get this information translated into the language of the country you are visiting.

Depending on which country you are in, you may need to pay the doctor to write the prescription, and also pay for the medicine when you collect it from a pharmacy. If you are in a country where the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is accepted you may be able to use your EHIC to get these services for free or at a reduced price. The NHS website has country-by-country guides to using your EHIC to access healthcare.

My medicine isn’t available in the country I’m visiting. How can I get supplies of it?

If your epilepsy medicine is not available in the country you are visiting, it may be possible to have your medicine sent to you there. For this to happen, the country has to have a licence or special authorisation for medicines to be brought in from abroad. You can find this information from the country’s embassy. The UK government website has a list of foreign embassies in the UK.

If your epilepsy medicine can be sent to you, you can pay a family doctor in the UK to write you a prescription. They can send the prescription to a company that can export medicines to individuals, such as John Bell & Croyden (details at the end). John Bell & Croyden will send your epilepsy medicine to you. You will have to pay for this service.

Alternatively, if you are in the European Economic Area or Switzerland you can pay a doctor there to write a prescription for you (it must be written in English). The doctor can arrange for John Bell & Croyden to send the medicine to them. You then collect the medicine from the doctor. You will have to pay for this service.

Useful contacts

John Bell & Croyden
Tel: 020 7935 5555
Website: johnbellcroyden.co.uk

Code: 
F022A.03

This information has been produced under the terms of The Information Standard.

  • Updated May 2016
    To be reviewed May 2019

Comments: read the 1 comments or add yours

Comments

I wanted to advise you of our findings in regard to using John Bell & Croyden to send medication, as it may be useful to other people reading your page.

On contacting John Bell & Croyden, we established that they would be able to arrange for medication to be sent abroad. However, they could not advise as to which countries would accept the import. It is the patient who has to find out and confirm that the particular country will accept an import of medication into the country. As long as the patient confirms to John Bell & Croyden that the country will accept it, then they will send it (obviously one has to provide prescription, doctor's letter, etc and a fee!)
However, they cannot guarantee arrival if customs stop it.

It was very difficult indeed to be certain whether the countries in SE Asia would allow medication to be imported by post. The information we obtained from each country's Embassy and Customs departments was not clear.

Submitted by Jane on