Prepare your prescriptions to avoid travel headaches


Help customers avoid stress when traveling

In brief:

  • Americans love to travel, especially in the summer
  • When traveling, the last thing people want are hassles related to their drugs
  • Pharmacies can help travelers avoid medication issues

Summer is a time to travel

When school lets out and the weather warms up, your customers hit the road. More than 33% of Americans take a family vacation, and many take 3+ trips per year.1 Whether they’re prepping for a beach vacation or a day trip to an amusement park, a patient’s medication still needs to be top of mind.

Eliminate medication headaches

When planning a trip, medications often get overlooked. This can result in problems when away from home, and can turn a pleasant vacation into a frustrating experience.

Luckily, pharmacies can help travelers avoid medication headaches. Some tips to accomplish this include:

  • Plan in advance. Encourage patients to think about their meds up to six weeks before traveling. Use signs and ask about upcoming travel plans when your customers are picking up prescriptions.
  • Check refills. Patients may need a special prescription to have enough medication for their trip. Remind them to take enough in case of an unexpected delay.
  • Know the laws and regulations. While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) doesn’t require that pills be in their original containers, some states do. Therefore, having medications clearly labeled will help with screening.For patients traveling outside of the country, suggest that they check with the embassy there. Prescriptions and products sold in the U.S. may be illegal elsewhere. For example, the medication level in Tylenol PM is more than Japan allows.2
  • Discuss logistics. Let patients know which items they should keep in their carry-on bag, not their checked luggage. Also, remind patients which medications must keep cool. Explain that “medically necessary liquids” aren’t subject to the 3.4-ounce limit for liquids on flights. Tell patients traveling with ice gel packs that they must keep them frozen.3
  • Provide information. Patients should travel with a complete list of their medical information. This includes generic drug names along with pharmacy and provider contact information.
  • Remember devices. Patients should carry documentation if traveling with medical devices, such as EpiPens. Also, patients should check regulations about whether a CPAP machine counts against an airline’s limit for carry-on bags.

By talking with patients about their plans, pharmacies can help customers work through potential travel issues.

Traveling can be stressful. But your pharmacy can help customers traveling with medications. You can help customers minimize medication issues and even stay adherent when away from home. And more than anything, you can help them enjoy their trip. Bon voyage.

1 “Family Vacations Still a Popular Priority for Millions of Americans,” Julie Hall, AAA, Feb. 7, 2017. LINK
2 “How to Make Sure You Travel with Medication Legally,” Tanya Mohn, The New York Times, Jan. 19, 2018. LINK
3 “Disabilities and Medical Conditions,” Transportation Security Administration. LINK
4 “TSA Shares Tips for Travelers with Disabilities, Medical Devices, Medical Conditions During the Busy Summer Travel Season,” Transportation Security Administration, May 13, 2017. LINK

Note: The information provided here is for reference use only and does not constitute the rendering of legal or other professional advice by McKesson. Readers should consult appropriate professionals for advice and assistance prior to making important decisions regarding their business. McKesson is not advocating any particular program or approach herein. McKesson is not responsible for, nor will it bear any liability for, the content provided herein.