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Packing for Success

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How to Travel with Medication

By Beth Coopman Pharm.D., pharmacist at Network Health

Packing your suitcase for out-of-state travel prompts a range of emotions that span from excitement to last-minute panic.

Network Health covers out-of-state, in-network pharmacies. Prescription laws, however, regarding what is allowed, may differ as you go from state to state. In addition, airline policies regarding flying with medications should be reviewed prior to travel.

Although travel plans may be on hold while we wait for a safe return to life as normal following the administration of a vaccine for the new coronavirus, we want to make sure you’re all set for your journeys. Today, we’re going to look at some tips that will help you prepare your medication supply without the usual stress of trying to get everything together.

1. Pack Medications First

Your medications are your most important luggage. While packing medication stored at room temperature is as simple as finding room in your carry-on bag or purse, you should also have a plan in place for refrigerated medication. The best way to travel with refrigerated medication is to have a small cooler with ice packs handy on the day of your travel into which you can place the prescriptions.

While traveling, do not store medications in the car, especially during winter and summer months. The potency of medications can be affected by extreme hot or cold temperatures.

Organize and confirm that you have enough medication for the entire trip and at least a week extra for unexpected delays home.  

2. Refill Medications Locally BEFORE Traveling

If you find that you do not have enough medication for the entire trip (plus a reserve), ask your pharmacy for a refill.

If the pharmacy states that the prescription is too early to refill, ask your pharmacist to call for a vacation override. This will ensure you have enough medication before you leave and should limit refilling needed at your destination.

3. Find a Destination Pharmacy to Fill Your Prescriptions

Sometimes filling a prescription away from home is unavoidable.

In preparation, research pharmacy locations and phone numbers near your destination. Call and speak to the pharmacist practicing in the state that you’re visiting to ask questions about how to fill an out-of-state prescription.

For example, are out-of-state prescriptions allowed? Do they allow paper prescriptions from out-of-state prescribers to be filled? Are prescriptions for controlled substances fillable from out-of-state prescribers? Unexpected situations arise. Being informed of the basic prescription laws of the state you are visiting can avoid stress and added expense.

4. Review TSA Medication Travel Policies Before Air Travel

Medications are allowed on flights. Make sure prescriptions are labeled and stored inside your carry-on bag.

Larger amounts of medically necessary liquids, gels, aerosols, accessories associated with medication (ice packs, IV bags, pumps and syringes) and insulin pumps, glucose monitors or other medical devices attached to your body are allowed. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) officers, however, must be informed at checkpoints for inspection.

The TSA has made a short video to help you better understand the procedures for air travel with medication. Click the link below to watch it.

Safe Travel is on the Horizon. Enjoy it Stress-Free with Your Medications

We’re all waiting for everything to return to normal and safe travel to be a common part of our vacation seasons yet again. Until then, learning how to best travel with the medications you need will ensure that your travels are as smooth and comfortable as possible once we get there.

Taking stock of these four simple tips should also reduce the amount of stress that goes into the pre-travel time.

If you have any questions about how your Network Health plan empowers you to travel safely and securely with your prescriptions, we’d love to help. As a Network Health member, you enjoy the benefit of being able to speak with a pharmacist simply by calling the number on the back of your Network Health plan card. You can also click below to send us a short message and we’ll get back to you in a timely manner.


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