Travel safely with PBS medication this Christmas

Joint media release

  • The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Human Services

16 December 2013

You've packed your bathers and towel, you've put your passport in a safe placeā€¦ But have you thought about taking your medication overseas this Christmas?

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Human Services Minister Senator Marise Payne today reminded Australians travelling overseas with PBS medication this Christmas to do so safely.

Minister Payne said that there are strict regulations about taking Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) medication overseas. It is illegal to take or send PBS medication out of Australia unless it is for personal use.

As a rule of thumb, travellers should only take as much medication as they need for the duration of the trip. Organising medicine before departure can help avoid unnecessary disruption to travel.

Travellers should consult their doctor about the medication they need to take with them.

Minister Bishop reminded Australians to visit the Smartraveller website when planning their Christmas travel. Smartraveller should be the first stop for up-to-date travel advice and practical health information.

Where possible, medicine should be left in the original packaging and travellers should carry a letter from their doctor noting that the medicine is for personal use.

Travellers should also check with the embassies of the countries they plan to visit to make sure the medicine is legal in those countries.

For more information about the rules that apply to PBS medications, visit or call the Travelling with PBS medicine enquiry line on 1800 500 147.

The latest travel advice is available at Australians can also visit the new @Smartraveller Twitter account, the Smartraveller Facebook page or download the Smartraveller iPhone app.

Media enquiries

  • Minister's office: (02) 6277 7500
  • DFAT Media Liaison: (02) 6261 1555