Can You Mail Medication? (+How To Mail Prescription Drugs Legal And Safe)

Sending prescription drugs and medications through the mail is something many people consider for convenience or to save money. But is it legal to mail medications? What restrictions apply when shipping medications? This article will cover everything you need to know about mailing prescription and other medications.

The short answer is yes, you can mail many types of medications, but there are important regulations surrounding mailing medications that senders and recipients need to be aware of. Certain types of drugs cannot be mailed at all. Below we’ll explore the laws, restrictions, mailing tips, and more so you can properly and legally mail medications.

What Types of Medications Can You Mail?

You can mail many prescription medications, as well as some over-the-counter medications. However, there are significant restrictions around mailing controlled substances and other hazardous materials.

Prescription drugs and medications can be mailed if they meet certain criteria. They must be:

  • Prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner
  • Properly labeled
  • In their original packaging
  • Mailed directly between the patient and pharmacist or medical practitioner

Over-the-counter medications can also be mailed if they meet packing and labeling requirements.

What Medications Cannot Be Mailed?

There are various restrictions around mailing medications, particularly controlled substances. Medications cannot be mailed if they fall into the following categories:

  • Controlled substances – This includes medications like Adderall, Vicodin, Xanax, Ambien, and others. Controlled substances cannot be mailed without specific registration and licensing from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • Inhalants – Such as medical oxygen tanks, aerosols, nail polish, and more. These are restricted by the U.S. Postal Service and Department of Transportation.
  • Liquids or gels – Due to air travel restrictions, medications in liquid or gel capsule form often cannot be mailed.
  • Medications purchased from foreign pharmacies – Importation of medications for personal use is restricted.
  • Illegal or recreational drugs

So in summary, controlled substances, hazardous materials, liquids or gels, foreign medications, and illegal drugs cannot be mailed through common carriers like USPS.

Can You Mail Prescription Drugs Through USPS?

The U.S. Postal Service allows many prescription drugs and medications to be mailed through their service, as long as proper procedures and regulations are followed.

To mail prescription medications with USPS, you must:

  • Mail only between pharmacist/medical practitioner and the patient
  • Include name and address of the sender and recipient
  • Package correctly in a sealed envelope or box
  • Meet all applicable state and federal laws

USPS restricts mailing of controlled substances, illegal drugs, and certain hazardous materials like flammable liquids and corrosive materials. Mailing prescription opioids is also heavily restricted.

Overall, USPS follows guidance from federal agencies like the DEA and FDA regarding mailing medications. As long as you comply with packaging, labeling, and content guidelines, many prescriptions can be sent through USPS mail services.

Can You Mail Medication Through FedEx or UPS?

Like USPS, mailing medications through private couriers like FedEx and UPS must comply with federal and state laws. Both FedEx and UPS allow most prescription drugs to be shipped through their services, with proper packaging and labeling.

The restrictions are similar to USPS – you cannot mail controlled substances without DEA registration and approval. Other hazardous materials, illegal drugs, and improperly packaged medications are also prohibited.

FedEx and UPS have additional restrictions, for example on mailing certain liquids. If you want to mail medications through private couriers, carefully review the company’s restrictions and guidelines. Also ensure you comply with all federal and state requirements.

Tips for Mailing Medications Safely

If you need to mail medications, follow these tips to stay compliant with laws and safely send your prescription drugs:

  • Double check that your medication is legally mailable
  • Only send between medical practitioner/pharmacist and patient
  • Use USPS Priority Mail Express or UPS Next Day Air for sensitive medications
  • Pack securely in tamper-evident packaging
  • Include return delivery address
  • Comply with any temperature requirements for medication
  • Place medications in interior packaging or envelope to avoid damage
  • Label package appropriately – don’t indicate medication names on the exterior
  • Include necessary shipping papers with hazardous materials

Taking measures like using faster shipping, tamper-evident packaging, and removing labels can help ensure mailed medications arrive safely.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mailing Medications

Can you mail medications internationally?

There are significant restrictions around mailing medications internationally. Controlled substances typically cannot be mailed overseas. Prescription drugs can only be imported to the U.S. if you provide required import documentation from U.S. Customs. In general, work with a medical professional before attempting to mail medications internationally.

Can you mail over-the-counter medications?

Many over-the-counter drugs like Aspirin, Tylenol, and Advil can be mailed domestically, as they are exempt from mailing restrictions. They must be sent in factory-sealed packaging. Restricted items like inhalants still cannot be mailed.

Can pharmacies mail medications?

Yes, licensed pharmacies that comply with state and federal pharmacy laws can mail prescription medications directly to patients. The pharmacy must verify the prescription is valid and mail only to the patient or administering practitioner. Controlled substances have additional DEA licensing requirements.

Can you mail medication back to a pharmacy?

In some cases, you can mail unopened and properly packaged medication back to the dispensing pharmacy for disposal. This is often done if the medication is expired or the patient has died. Controlled substances have more stringent requirements.

Key Takeaways: Mailing Medications

  • Many prescription drugs can be mailed domestically following proper procedures
  • Controlled substances have tight restrictions and often cannot be mailed
  • Liquids, gels, inhalants, and hazardous materials cannot be mailed
  • Only send medications between medical provider and patient
  • Use USPS, FedEx, or UPS and comply with packaging and labeling requirements
  • Take safety precautions like tracking, tamper-proofing, and concealing contents

Understanding mailing restrictions is crucial when sending prescription drugs. While allowed in many cases, there are important regulations in place to safely mail medications in the U.S. Follow all state, federal, and carrier guidelines to legally mail prescription drugs.

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