On Mailing Drugs to China

Of interest to expats and Olympic visitors …

Over dinner this evening I heard the unfortunate tale of an 6 month American expat who had been receiving regular, monthly, mailed deliveries of a specific prescription drug from the United States. The packages were sent using the US Postal Service’s Global Express, with accurate shipping manifests. And they were delivered on-time, without any problem, to an address in Beijing.

That is, until two weeks ago, when the person scheduled to receive the drugs was asked to visit the central China Post offices with paperwork showing that s/he was authorized to receive the pharmaceutical. As it happened, s/he had a copy of the US prescription, but when she arrived, she was told that – due to new security regulations – her doctor would need to provide authorization of the prescription to China Post. That information was provided within 48 hours, but the prescription itself wasn’t released for another four days – for undetermined reasons. Fortunately, this individual had enough of the prescription in question to last through the unexpected delay.

I have no idea what the regulations are in relation to the shipping of prescription drugs to China. It may be that correct paperwork, as described in this case, is and has been the law for some time. But, whatever they are, there seems to be a new zeal for enforcing them. So, prescription drug users: plan accordingly.

[For further info on Olympic-related mailing regulations and inconveniences, see here and here.]

One more quick item. I’ve noticed, in recent weeks, that several China-related blogs have taken to writing long posts filled with anecdotes of Olympic inconveniences. I’ve tried to avoid doing that, partly because I’m an optimist at heart, and partly because – occasionally crabby journalist/blogger, aside – I’m really hoping to enjoy these games. That noted … I’ve heard from two Chinese citizens in Shanghai that their applications for Hong Kong visas have been delayed indefinitely by the relevant authorities. In one case, the applicant has been waiting more than a month. Typically, these sorts of applications are approved in a week or less. One additional factor that may be in play (in these cases) is that neither applicant has a Shanghai hukou.

1 comment

  1. Adam,

    My patience is actually running thin when the Olympics security is causing more and more inconveniences to both Chinese and foreigners alike. Olympics are supposed to be fun.

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