Medicines and vitamin/ mineral preparations
In Germany, the importation of medicines is subject to the strict provisions of the German Medicines Act. Accordingly, the private importation of medicines without permission is generally prohibited. This regulation is to ensure that only medicines which are - concerning legal aspects of the Medicines Act - harmless for the consumer may come into the German market.
On principle, medicines acquired in countries outside the European Community
may be imported only in quantities as would normally be used while travelling.
You should consider this already when arranging your first- aid kit. This actually also applies to the necessary medicines for accompanying pets.
Concerning the importation you should be aware that products which are sold freely in other countries may also come under the purview of the German Medicines Act. This could be vitamins in highly measured doses or so called supplementary means of food or naturopathic cures such as Chinese medicinal plants or products containing melatonin.
Products presented and offered as medicines may also be subject to the restrictions of the Drug Law or measures according to the provisions regarding the protection of endangered species. In isolated cases, they may even be falsifications which do not or not in sufficient extent contain the given active substances or even contain harmful or poisonous substances.
Medicines sent by mail
The importation of medicines by private individuals by mail is generally prohibited. However, it is possible to import unlicensed medicines in small quantities as ordered by single individuals and within the framework of normal drugstore operation.
In such cases the order must be made by the drugstore authorised by the consignee. This drugstore would also have to declare the goods to Customs. Thus, it shall be ensured that even by mail only safe medicines are introduced.
Imports of medicinal products from other EU member states and from
EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway)
Private persons travelling to Germany may bring medicinal products for their personal use if they have bought them in a pharmacy in any of the eligible countries. The same applies if such products are sent by regular mail from private persons to private persons.
Medicinal products licensed or registered in Germany may also be imported through legal mail order to consumers. Such orders, however, must originate from EU or EEA member states where mail-order medicines are subject to safety standards that are in line with the respective German standards. The Federal Ministry of Health publishes a relevant overview in the Official Section of the German Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger). At present, such mail-order imports are permitted from the following states:
- The Netherlands, provided that such mail-order pharmacy also operates a high-street pharmacy
- Sweden, but limited to the mail-order trade in prescription medicines
- The Czech Republic, but limited to the mail-order trade in non-prescription medicines
- The United Kingdom
Please, considerthe special provisions for prescribed narcotics carried within Member States of the Schengen Agreement.
For further questions concerning the importation of medicines, please contact
- the Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte (Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices),
- the locally competent medicine control authorities,
- the central Customs Information Centre
- or the locally competent customs offices.