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I am traveling soon, away for 8 weeks. Yesterday my doctor prescribed me a new medication that I have to take every day while I'm away (2x tablets per day), unfortunately the pharmacy only has these in containers of 20, so I have 6 containers of tablets to take with me.

These containers, however, would probably fit ~60 tablets in each one, so I could potentially get these into only 2 containers.

Is it allowed/accepted for me to combine these tablets into the two containers? All would be the same (prescription) medication, however the label on the containers clearly say "frasco con 20 tabletas" (bottle of 20 tablets). There is no printed prescription label stuck to the bottles, so I will have my paper prescription copy with me.

Flying USA to NZ

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    Possibly depends on what the medication is (more specifically, whether it is subject to restrictions in NZ). Also do you have have transit stops?
    – jcaron
    Jan 30 at 16:39
  • @jcaron It is a prescription medication available in NZ. Just a 4 hour technical stop in Papeete, won't leave the airport.
    – Midavalo
    Jan 30 at 16:50
  • I've combined travel medication including one prescription one in a single container for 30+ years going to 40+ countries. No problems whatsoever. Of course, past performance is no predictor of future performance and the stuff that I carry is "harmless".
    – Hilmar
    Jan 31 at 4:36

2 Answers 2

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Following the link in @jcaron's answer, I contacted the New Zealand Customs Service and asked them about consolidating same medication (specifically loose pills in pill-bottles) into fewer containers, and they replied that was OK but did specify "original containers"

...Customs has no issue with the prescription medicine being brought into New Zealand in two of the original containers, providing you have a copy of the prescription (or letter) from your doctor...

So it sounds like I'm good to go

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So the canonical question+answer on the topic points us to the NZ Customs page about Medicines.

That tells us:

Prescription medicines

If you are arriving into New Zealand with prescription medicines (other than medicines containing controlled drugs), on you or in your luggage you must:

  • have a copy of the prescription from your doctor, or a letter from your doctor stating that you are being treated with the medicine(s), and
  • carry the medicine(s) in their original containers, and
  • have a quantity not exceeding three months’ supply for prescription medicines (with the exception of oral contraceptives which can be supplied in six-month quantities).

If you are carrying more than three months’ supply of prescription medicines or medicine that is not prescribed to you or a family member, this must be declared on your arrival declaration.

Learn more about bringing medicines into New Zealand on Medsafe’s website

(emphasis mine).

Note that this applies for prescription medicines not containing controlled drugs. In that case there are even more conditions and restrictions (listed further on the same page).

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  • Thanks - I guess now it'll come down to whether "original" means the actual one it came in, or just that it isn't a generic plain bottle or with a label for another med. I know it probably means the former...
    – Midavalo
    Jan 30 at 17:35
  • @Midavalo I would think the intent is to be relatively convinced that the drugs are indeed the ones listed. While this makes sense for medication delivered in blisters as is usually the case in some countries (e.g. France) I'm not sure it makes any sense when it's sold in bottles or other "loose" containers (as is often the case in the US).
    – jcaron
    Jan 30 at 17:41
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    I just got a reply back from NZ Customs saying they have no issue with me combining same medication into fewer original containers/bottles if required. 😊
    – Midavalo
    Jan 30 at 23:12

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