Prescriptions

Whereas on a short trip you simply bring along enough of any needed medicines to see you through your return home, moving overseas can bring with it some additional complications. If you or your kids take any prescription medicine on an ongoing basis, you will need to find out if the medicine is available in the host country.

Check with your doctor, and with any contacts in the host country. Sometimes a drug is available only under its generic name. Ask your physician if there are drugs similar to what you take in the U.S. that might be available overseas. Some insurance companies that allow you to order prescriptions by mail in the U.S. may also be willing to mail things internationally, but given the complexity of customs laws this is not usually a very good solution. You can also check with your local pharmacy about mailing things.

One pharmacy that I know will do mail orders is Morgan Pharmacy, 3001 P Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20007. Telephone (202) 337-4100, FAX (202) 337-4102, e-mail morganph@aol.com. Talk to them well in advance of departing the U.S. to make sure they are set to go with your doctor's out-of-town prescription.

In some countries medication that is available only as a prescription in America can be bought over the counter. In some areas quality control is lax on medicines, meaning the pills you take may have more or less of the active ingredient your medical problem needs. In other areas pharmacists may undergone little to no formal training; treat any free advice with caution.

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