What do the new regulations involve?
From October 1st 2015, private imports of medicinal products will be subject to stricter regulations. It is only permitted to import over-the-counter medicinal products from EU/EEA countries, which have been approved in Norway (with Norwegian patient information leaflets and Norwegian labelling text on the package). Medicinal products ordered by post from abroad may be seized and destroyed by Norwegian Customs.
What medicinal products are permitted for private import?
Medicinal products from EU/EEA countries that are:
- over-the-counter products
- approved in Norway with Norwegian package leaflets and Norwegian labelling text on the package
In practice this means that very few medicinal products may be privately imported. Read abour what medicinal products are permitted for personal import.
Why are there new regulations?
The purpose of stricter regulations is to prevent improper use and to protect consumers from illegal and counterfeit medicinal products.
Talk to your doctor if you believe you need medicinal products.
What happens with seized medicinal products?
Seized medicinal products will be held by the postal service or shipping company until the legality of the imported product has been determined. The recipient will be notified if the contents of the package are illegal and have therefore been seized. If the recipient believes that the conditions for legal import have been met, then an explanation and documentation as proof must be submitted to the postal service or shipping company within ten days. The service or company will forward the information to the Norwegian Medicines Agency, who will then assess the documentation. If the import is considered legal, the package will be released to the recipient. If the import is considered illegal, the package will be destroyed.
I have received a notice declaring that the medicinal product I ordered was seized. Will this be reported to the police?
It may be reported to the police, depending on the seriousness of the matter. You may be reported for the violation of Section 31 of the Medicinal Products Act, or the violation of Section 162 (narcotics) or 162b (doping agents) of the General Civil Penal Code.
What products are classified as medicinal products in Norway?
The definition of medicinal products, as well as the classification of over-the-counter and prescription medicines varies from country to country. Regulations are based on Norwegian classifications of over-the-counter and prescription medicinal products. See the information about products classified as medicinal products with regard to private import.
Can herbal remedies and nutritional supplements also be seized and destroyed?
Yes. Several products sold as nutritional supplements in other countries are classified as medicinal products in Norway. Such products may be seized and destroyed by Norwegian Customs.
Read more about nutritional supplements on the Norwegian Food Safety Authority website.
What about vitamins?
Vitamins were recently transferred from being regulated as a medicine to being regulated as a food. In Norway, it is the Norwegian Food Safety Authority that governs the food legislation. Products containing vitamins will therefore not be subject to the legislation concerning personal importation of medicinal products ordered by post. There are however some exceptions, as vitamins for injection still are classified as medicinal products. Products that claim to be medicinal products, e.g. by purporting medicinal effects or through other types of marketing will also be considered medicinal, regardless of the actual content of the product.
Where are seized medicinal products held?
These packages are held by the postal service or shipping company that brought the package to Norway.
Do the new regulations apply to medicinal products brought along when travelling abroad?
No. It is still permitted to bring along medicinal products for personal use when travelling. You must submit documentation to prove that the medicinal products are yours, e.g. prescription, package label, or list of medicinal products. Read more about bringing medicinal products when travelling.
What do I do if I need a medicinal product that has not been approved in Norway?
Talk to your doctor. If your doctor thinks you need a medicinal product that has not been approved in Norway, he or she may apply for compassionate use on a named patient basis. These medicines will then be imported especially for you after you have delivered the prescription at a pharmacy in Norway.
Are there legal Internet pharmacies?
There are approved, Norwegian online pharmacies where you can order medicinal products. See the list of approved online pharmacies in Norway.