November 01, 2003


 Tighter restrictions on drug imports proposed

Posted Oct. 15, 2003

The Drug Enforcement Administration is proposing to limit the drugs brought back into the country for legitimate medical reasons by U.S. residents returning from travel abroad to 50 dosage units. Under the proposed rule, drugs necessary to treat an accompanying animal could be included in this exemption.

The Controlled Substances Import and Export Act allows travelers with a legitimate medical need for controlled substances during their journey to be exempted from regulations pertaining to the import and export of controlled substances.

But because some U.S. residents were exploiting the exemption by bringing drugs into the country for illegal purposes, Congress amended the law in 1998 to restrict the amount of controlled substances travelers can bring with them.

In the Sept. 11, 2003, Federal Register, the DEA announced that it was recommending limiting imports of controlled substances for legitimate medical reasons to a total of 50 dosage units.

Current regulations allow U.S. citizens to enter or exit the country with a controlled substance listed in schedule II, III, IV, or V that they have lawfully obtained for their personal medical use or that of an animal.

In addition, a number of conditions must be met, including keeping the drug in the container in which it was originally dispensed and proper declaration of the drug to a U.S. Customs Service official.

The AVMA Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents will review the Federal Register notice.

Comments on the rule should be submitted to the Deputy Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Washington, D.C. 20573, Attention: DEA Federal Register Representative /CCR. Comments must be postmarked by Nov. 10, 2003.