We recently ordered a 5 month supply of the vitamin/supplement formula that our son takes, only to get it hung up in customs.
Apparently, Thai FDA now considers vitamins and supplements to be "medicine" -- and having it mailed to you from outside the country requires a medical import license.
We used Fed-ex to ship it, which we now know probably wasn't the best idea. We've heard that it's better to have the vitamins mailed to someone you know who will then mail it to you with other stuff and with creative listing on the customs form. But even then, if the box is opened, you'll lose the vitamins.
In our case, we did finally get the vitamins (or we should -- supposed to be delivered tomorrow), but we had to pay an extra 4000 baht (on top of the $300 we'd already paid for the vitamins and shipment). So...rather expensive. What we had to do was hire someone to act as a broker for us, who did have a medical import license.
I would recommend that if you can, just buy the vitamins/supplements here in Thailand. We would do that, but the formula our son uses is quite complicated and extensive, and he's on the Ketogenic diet for seizures, so it has to be extremely restricted in carbs, and we'd have no idea how many carbs would be in the Thai products. However, for normal vitamins and supplements, I think you can find most of what you need here.
If you need something you can't find here, then my advice would be to find someone who is coming to Thailand, have the supplements mailed to them, and let them bring it into the country in their bags (which the customs officials don't care about, as long as it isn't an exceptionally huge amount). That's what we will do in the future. We're lining up folks right now to do that.
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Phew, I just received several 8 and 16 oz bottles with trace minerals in liquid form and Melatonin.
The former is amazing stuff IMHO.
Once someone wrote "$ 5,000" as value for a USS parcel with some cheese and old pocket watches. My friend was all day at Customs and ended up losing it all or paying something like a $ 700 bribe. It was crazy - and somehow the few 18 karat watches "disappeared", too. Seems someone took a long time to check it all out and then pick 'n choose.
I'm sorry for this trouble and glad you will get the stuff!
If the medical supplements are prescribed by a qualified doctor you should have no trouble bringing them into the country.
The alternative is to have them prescribed by a Thai doctor and issued via the hospital pharmacy.
So they check.
Much of it Chinese.
No labels telling you the non-active ingredients contained. The fillers.
Never go that route.
I beleve that in both cases I am correct Russ. This is based only on personal experience. I have always brought painkillers and mild steroid based anti inflamatories in without problem. Vits and supps if prescribed are not an issue here.
Thai government hospitals do have qualified pharmacists, which is better than buying from roadside unbranded pharmacies.
But actually you are right on both scores.
Bottom line in Thailand seems to be "that it all depends"
All hit and miss.
Hospital pharmacies are okay.
Note that in Thailand narcotics are only dispensed through a hospital pharmacy, not a regular pharmacy.
OK, well we got the vitamins/supplements, and the fee was "only" 3000 baht, not 4000.
A doctors prescription does no good with getting them mailed into the country. We had that. We do have Jon's MCT oil ordered by his Pediatrician here via the internet -- it comes in through the hospital. And we do purchase supplements and meds here, but we stick with name brands, like Smith Kline, that are made in Germany or the States.
But when you enter the country with your suitcases, they don't care if you bring them with you -- as long as it is an amount that is reasonable for "personal use" -- obviously if you have an entire suitcase full of pills, they're going to surmise that they're for resale.
We use the military hospital (Phramongkutklao) next to the medical university (close to Victory monument) to get most of our meds. Narcotics are "controlled" -- need a doctor script and even the seizure meds that aren't narcotics also need to be purchased through hospital. Meds for stuff like blood pressure, thyroid, etc. can be purchased at local pharmacy -- we have a very knowledgeable pharmacist that we work with in the Hua Mak area.
BTW, at the govt. hospitals, there is no doctor fee -- just 50 B for the hospital -- and whatever meds you need.
here has been a few problems over the last year or so, however, things are now generally arriving without problems. The trick is to buy small quantities and keep your bill to $50 ish.
You can try the company I use iherb.com and despite what it says on the site things are arriving.