Take Your Meds

August 25, 2016

If you’ve accepted an overseas teaching position & are living with a medical condition, you absolutely must do your due diligence to verify beyond a shadow of a doubt that any required treatments or meds are available in your new location. Simply asking the person interviewing you at a Recruiting Fair is not sufficient research.

   It should go without saying that many prescriptions &/or medications readily available in the West are difficult, if not impossible, to find in other areas of the world. When you move overseas, no matter where in the world you are going, you owe it to yourself to bring at least a few months’ supply of your prescription so you can stay healthy until someone sends you what you need, if it should become necessary. But do be prepared for ridiculous customs duties & maybe even a bribe or two before you actually receive your package.

   ISR hosts a handful of School Reviews that relate absolute horror stories from teachers who failed to bring meds or were unable to find required periodic treatments for themselves or dependents. For some teachers, the only option was to break contract & return home. Don’t become a victim of insufficient research!

Important Medication Facts to Keep in Mind

• It is illegal to send some medications to certain countries by mail. Check with the postal service & customs office.  This regulation will usually apply to controlled substances, but not always. In Japan some common medications are included on the no-mail list. Contact the embassy of the country you will be entering to ensure your medicine is legal there.

• Learn about the process for purchasing your medication in your new host country. Some medications can be in short supply, a different dosage may be the only dosage available, &/or you could be required to get a prescription from a local doctor.

• Before you leave home, get written prescriptions from your doctor in case you need to order meds by mail, assuming they are legal for delivery by mail.

• Research the destination country’s customs regulations regarding medications. Some countries only allow a 90-day supply to be brought in.

• It’s recommended that you bring letter from your doctor which includes the name of the meds you take & in what dosage.  The letter should state that the medicine is for your personal use.

•  You might find the medication you get with a prescription at home is available over-the-counter in your new host country. Unfortunately, the situation can also be reversed & drugs you’ve been buying over-the-counter at home may require a prescription overseas.

What has Your experience been living overseas in regards to medical treatments & medications?  Do you have any Advice to share?

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