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Pay attention to carrying controlled drugs into and out of a country

  • Data Source:Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2023-05-18
  • Last Updated:2023-05-18

As COVID-19 epidemic eases and countries reopen borders, people travel abroad more frequently for tourism or business. However, pharmaceutical regulations vary from country to country, to avoid penalty for breaking the law, nationals carrying controlled drugs for personal use need to comply with the regulations of the country of entry. The Food and Drug Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare (TFDA) reminds travelers to carry a certificate of diagnosis or a copy of the prescriptions from a medical institution for customs inspection.

    For nationals who have received treatment abroad and returned to Taiwan with controlled drugs, according to the customs declaration instructions, the medicine is limited to treating illness of the passenger his/her self, a medical institution certificate is required, the amount cannot exceed that on the prescription, and the medicine should be carried, send by mail or express delivery is not allowed.

    Controlled drugs include addictive narcotics and psychotropic drugs (e.g., sleeping pills) which are strictly regulated by all countries in the world, commonly used sedative hypnotics such as zopidem, triazolam, and flunitrazepam, as well as addictive narcotics of morphine and fentanyl are all controlled drugs, and can only be used for medical and scientific purposes. If the source of the controlled drugs is unknown or used illegally, that would be regarded as illegal drugs and regulated by the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act.

    TFDA reiterates its call to nationals travel abroad for tourism or business, to also carry a diagnostic certificate or a copy of prescription from the attending physician if carrying medicines for personal use. If the medicines belong to schedule 1 to 3 controlled drugs (the controlled drugs list can be found on TFDA website (, you can send to TFDA a declaration and medical diagnostic certificate to apply for a certification document according to article 18 of the Enforcement Rules for the Controlled Drugs Act. Before travel abroad, you can also check at Bureau of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website at (, to find out if there are any particular regulations to avoid violating the law of the country of entry.