Mailing prescription drugs to your loved ones seems like a good idea in many situations: your friend has forgotten his insulin at home, or your daughter has left for a 2-week holiday without her medication. However, shipping prescribed drugs in the U.S. is very restricted, and only a few people or entities can legally do so.
It becomes even trickier when you must ship refrigerated medicines like insulin. How to make sure the drugs stay cold during transportation?
Let’s see what you can or cannot do when shipping refrigerated medications.
Related article: Why do you need to refrigerate insulin and how to store it properly?
Can you send insulin & other medications by mail?
Some items are prohibited, like ammunition, explosives, or gasoline, while others are restricted, like hazardous or perishable items, live animals, or alcoholic beverages.
Controlled substances and drugs like prescription medicines are subject to strict shipping regulations, whether they're sent nationally or internationally.
Related article: How to travel with refrigerated medicines?
Shipping prescribed drugs nationallyAccording to the U.S. Postal Service, you can only send prescription drugs through the mail if you are an entity registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). For example, drug manufacturers, pharmacies, medical practitioners, or other authorized drug dispensers generally fall into that category.
It is illegal for an individual to mail prescription drugs in the U.S.A., even if it's within your state. It does not matter if it's a drug that someone has forgotten at your place, even if you have convincing documentation that you're doing it in good faith and it's a widely used medicine like insulin or others.
The only exceptions in which you’re allowed to ship prescription medicines are:
- If you or the recipient are exempted from DEA registration (military, law enforcement, or civil defense).
- If you’re mailing a drug back to its manufacturer (or the pharmacy).
Shipping prescribed drugs internationally
Similar restrictions apply to shipping prescription medications internationally. First, you can only ship drugs to the U.S. if it's officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
If you’re willing to ship drugs outside of the U.S., you must comply with the destination country’s regulations about drug importation. Note that in most countries, it’s illegal for individuals to import prescription drugs via mail. Instead, it must be sent by an official company (pharmacy, drug manufacturer, etc.).
Related article: How to Travel with Refrigerated Medications?
How to ship refrigerated medicines like insulin?Whether you're shipping prescription drugs to your customers or loved ones, or sending them back to a DEA-register entity, nationally or internationally, remember that you must comply with the regulations (see above).
Besides, if the medicine you’re shipping requires refrigeration, like insulin or vaccines, it’s important you make sure it’s transported in the right temperature conditions and stays safe during transit.
Related article: How to Keep Insulin Cool While Traveling?
Shipping refrigerated medicationsShipping refrigerated medications like insulin requires a few precautions to ensure your drugs stay cool in the package during transportation. The best way to ship insulin and other refrigerated medications is to pack them in a cooler box or an insulated coloing bag with gel packs.
Secure your drugs inside to avoid damage caused by movements and friction inside the package during transportation.
Make sure to coordinate with the shipping company in advance in order to know how long the transit will last and what the weather conditions are expected to be. Avoid shipping insulin and other temperature-sensitive medicines during heat waves.
Related article: How long can refrigerated medicines be left out?
4AllFamily's medical-grade travel coolersShould you need to ship insulin or other refrigerated medicines to your loved ones, we highly recommend using medical-grade travel coolers that guarantee your meds are safe and kept cold like in an real fridge.
4AllFamily designs reliable cooling solutions for shipping and transportation of fragile medicines.
Our Nomad Cooling Case for Insulin and refrigerated drugs keeps your meds refrigerated at 36-46°F / 2-8°C for 30 hours, even if it's 104°F / 40°C outside! It can hold up to 3-4 insulin pens and works with simple biogel freeze packs.
Should you need to ship a higher amount of medicine, check out the 72 hours 3-in-1 medicine travel cooler in which you can send up to 7 insulin pens or 42 insulin vials.
Any questions about our products? Don't hesitate to reach out; one of our team members will happily help you!
Documents and informationWhen shipping insulin or other refrigerated prescription medicines, you’ll want to make sure to provide the following information to the shipping company:
- Copy of the medical prescription
- Copy of the recipient’s ID
- Name, address, and phone number of the recipient’s doctor
- Quantity, dosage, and form of medicine (tablets, capsules, liquid, injections, etc.)
- The shipping company may require other information.
Related article: Tips for traveling with medication nationally and internationally.