Bringing Medication to Sweden
It is your responsibility to ensure that all medication you are importing is legal and does not contain euphoriants and/or doping substances.
The U.S. Department of State provides the following basic advice regarding traveling abroad with medication:
- Assure that your medication is legal to carry into the country
- Bring medication in your carry-on luggage; it should be in its original container and be accompanied by a doctor’s note listing the medication and why you are taking it
Note: Over-the-counter (OTC) cold medicines typically found in the U.S. are not available in Sweden. DIS recommends that you bring a limited supply of OTC medication for your use abroad.
Meet with Your Doctor Before Traveling Abroad
DIS recommends that you talk to your doctor well in advance about your plans to travel abroad. Ask your doctor if they have any concerns with you receiving enough of your prescription medication for the duration of your time abroad. If your insurance only allows a limited amount of prescription at a time and this isn’t enough for your term abroad, call your insurance company and ask for an exception. A copy of your acceptance from DIS will often assist your appeal for additional coverage. Some students have been unable to receive an exception and have had to pay out of pocket for the additional month(s). If this is your situation, ask if you can later file for reimbursement from the insurance company.
Note: Birth control is a legal substance in Sweden; talk with your doctor about bringing enough birth control for the entire semester.
Read more about planning for your health abroad here.
The Swedish Health Authority limits the amount and type of medication that can be carried into the country. Generally, any type of medication that contains amphetamine, benzodiazepine, methylphenidate, and other euphoriants has import restrictions, which limits the amount that can be carried into Sweden to a 5-day supply. You can, however, apply for permission to receive an exception to this rule. See details below.
Never travel internationally with medical marijuana in any form. Marijuana is illegal in many countries, including Sweden. Students with a U.S. prescription for marijuana can be arrested, prosecuted, and deported if in possession of any illegal substance. U.S. airports and airplanes are under federal jurisdiction. Federal authorities do not recognize medical marijuana laws or cards of any state. If you are in possession of illegal substances, you can be detained and arrested when going through security on your way out of or into the U.S.
If the medication does not contain euphoriants, you are generally allowed to bring your full supply through Swedish customs. Importing illegal medication to Sweden may result in having the medication seized, receiving a fine, or other repercussions. Read more about traveling with medication on the Swedish medical products agency website.
When you have medication to bring to Sweden, make sure to bring:
- The medication in its original container
- A copy of the prescription and a statement from the doctor explaining your condition
- Proof of legal purchase of the medication (e.g. a receipt from the pharmacy where it was purchased)
Important! Neither prescription nor OTC medication can be sent via mail to Sweden.
How to Apply
A certificate from Sweden’s Medical Products Agency (MPA / Läkemedelsverket) will give you permission to import a full supply of an otherwise not allowed medication. Below are the steps to apply for the certification. If you have any questions about this process, please call the DIS North American Office.
- Email the Medical Products Agency at email@example.com
- Include a letter from your doctor stating how long you are staying in Sweden, which medication(s) you need, diagnoses documentation, medication dosage, and all active compounds in these medications
- Include your full name, date of birth, date of arrival to Sweden, and departure from Sweden
Note: These emails should be sent as early as possible; at least four weeks before the expected entry into Sweden.
If You Cannot Bring Enough Medication for Your Time Abroad: Next Steps
If you run into any problems getting enough medication to bring to Sweden or the medication is not allowed to be brought into the country, you may be able to receive the medication in Sweden. However, this should only be a fall-back option as it doesn’t always work seamlessly.
1.Find out if your medication is available in Sweden or look up potential substitutes: Consult this official website about medicine in Sweden with your home doctor.
2. If you find your medication is available in Sweden, you cannot fill a U.S. prescription in Sweden. Instead, to fill a prescription, you need to make an appointment with a Swedish doctor who may be willing to write you a prescription. Read more about visiting a doctor in Sweden here. Additional info:
- You need to bring documentation for your condition from your home doctor, as well as information about the specific type of medication you take to facilitate the conversation
- It is the Swedish doctor who decides whether or not you will need the prescription in Sweden, not yourself, or your home doctor. Discuss with your U.S. doctor whether you wish to take this risk, and have a backup plan
- DIS medical insurance coverage for pre-existing illnesses is limited. Review details and make a plan if you need additional insurance.
3. If you find that your medication is not available in Sweden: Discuss with your doctor, well in advance of travel, the options for switching to a medication you can either bring with you or receive in Sweden. Any change in treatment may require an adjustment period and close monitoring by a medical professional, which you will want to undertake while still in the U.S.
Note: The information on this page is subject to change. For official information, rely on information provided by your doctor(s) and the official Swedish website.