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How to bring your medication to France

By Jean
Reading Time: 4 minutes
bring medication to france

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Moving to France to live and study can be an exciting adventure. For international students, ensuring you have everything you need for a comfortable stay includes bringing your medication if you are under treatment.

Understanding the regulations and process to bring medication to France is crucial for a smooth transition. Here’s what you need to know.

Know the Regulations

France has strict regulations regarding the importation of medications. These rules ensure the safety and health of individuals and the public. Before packing your bags, familiarize yourself with what is allowed and what isn’t.

The quantity of medicinal products you may carry must not exceed the quantity required for personal use. If the quantities carried exceed those required for personal use, importation is strictly prohibited. Personal use corresponds to the length of treatment specified by the medical prescription or, where there is none, treatment for three months.

bring medication to france

Allowed Medications

You can bring most prescription medications into France for personal use. If the quantity has to exceed 3 months because of the length of treatment, ensure you have a valid prescription or a medical certificate, written in French or English, that includes:

  • Your name and birthdate
  • Detailed information on the medication (name, dosage, and duration of treatment)
  • Signature of your healthcare provider

Good to know: If your treatment requires travel with needles, syringes or pens for injection, it is advisable to have a medical certificate even if the quantity does not exceed 3 months. This should be asked of your treating physician who writes it. The customs control is then easier if you can present a medical certificate to the authorities.

Prohibited Medications

Certain substances are prohibited or require special permission. As a general rule, holding, carrying or bringing in France narcotics or psychotropics is illegal or tightly controlled. For example, amphetamines, cannabis, methadone or morphine are prohibited but certain of these products may be taken as medicine.

In that case, the quantities must correspond to personal use, you must present a medical certificate and in some cases might have to obtain authorization from the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products (ANSM). Without this, you risk confiscation of your medicine or even legal issues upon arrival.

How to Bring Medication to France

  1. Gather Documentation: Before departure, gather all necessary documentation, including prescriptions, medical certificates, and any required authorizations.
  2. Translate Documents: Ensure all documents are available in French or English to facilitate smooth processing by customs. If your document is not issued in French or English, a professional translation is recommended.
  3. Declare at Customs: Upon arrival in France, declare your medications at customs. Be transparent about what you’re bringing into the country and why. Have all related documentation handy for inspection.
  4. Carry Medications in Original Packaging: Always carry medications in their original packaging with the prescription label attached. This packaging should indicate your name, the prescribing doctor’s name, and the medication details.
  5. Check for Updates: You might be able to bring medication to France now, but regulations can change, so it’s essential to check the latest guidelines from customs before travelling.

Alternative Solutions

If you are not a citizen of the Schengen area and will be residing in France for 4 months or more under a long-term visa, finding a substitute for your current medication in France might be easier than trying to bring it with you.

As a long-term resident, you are required to enrol in Sécurité Sociale (SECU). You may be able to get the same or similar medication in France as back home, and the SECU will cover your health insurance during your stay in France. If you know you’ll be needing certain medication long-term, check its availability, French names, and whether those are reimbursed by SECU prior to your travel.

Learn more about SECU and the French healthcare system in this article: https://gogofrance.com/blog/french-healthcare-system/

bring medication to france

Additional Tips for a Smooth Experience

  1. Insurance Coverage: Verify if your health insurance covers your stay in France or if you can benefit from the French healthcare system. If not, consider purchasing a travel health insurance that covers prescription medications.
  2. Emergency Plan: Know how to access healthcare services in France in case you run out of medication or need medical assistance.
  3. Understand the French Healthcare System: Familiarize yourself with the French healthcare system and how it works, including how to visit a doctor, get a prescription filled, and the role of pharmacies. This knowledge will help you navigate the system more effectively.
  4. Learn Key French Medical Terms: Knowing medical terms, especially those related to your condition and medication, in French can be incredibly helpful. It ensures clear communication with healthcare professionals and pharmacists.

Learn more about pharmacies here: https://gogofrance.com/blog/what-you-can-buy-at-pharmacies-in-france/

Learn key French medical terms here: https://gogofrance.com/en/blog/medical-terms-in-french/

Navigating the process to bring medication to France requires careful planning and adherence to regulations. By ensuring to understand how to bring medication to France, international students can ensure they have the medications they need while avoiding potential legal issues. If you are unsure about whether you can bring medication to France, feel free to contact our team, and we’ll be happy to help!

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