Importing medicines and supplements moving to Indonesia.

KC Nash

New Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2018
Messages
1
When moving to Indonesia, can one bring in essential medicines such as blood pressure control? Limitations?
Can one bring in supplements (i.e. vitamins and minerals) as found in a health food store or vitamin shop?
 

waarmstrong

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
2,464
I realize some will wring their hands and worry out loud that meds in Indonesia are often counterfeit (they are not, just be cautious, as well as suspicious), but given the cost difference why would you want to bring outrageously priced meds from the USA into Indonesia? I suggest you first check out what's available locally from reputable outlets and at what price.
 
Last edited:

dafluff

Moderator
Moderator
Cager
Joined
Jul 13, 2016
Messages
4,019
In general you can bring with you (on your person when flying in) personal use medication and supplements. I haven't heard of anyone having problems bringing a couple of months supply worth.

Shipping it in is close to impossible though.
 

jstar

Mr. 10,000
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
4,304
It is best to check the MIMS database first to see if the medicines are registered in Indonesia.

If they are NOT registered here, you could have an issue. So make sure you have a correct prescription. From the European Union checklist:

The medical statement & prescription has to contain at least the following information:
  • Patient details: surname and first name (both written in full), and date of birth
  • Date of issue of the prescription
  • Details of the prescribing doctor: surname and first name (written in full), professional qualification, direct contact details, work address (including the country), and signature (written or digital)
  • Details of the prescribed product: its common name (rather than the brand name, which may be different in another country), format (tablet, solution, etc), quantity, strength and dosage.
If in doubt, visit your KBRI (Indonesian consulate or embassy abroad).
 

harryopal

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,102
The only medication I used is somewhat higher in cost than it is in Australia. As my supply ran out I found an online supplier offering a much lower price. I bought supplies for several months but the items were seized by customs on the basis that they are available in Indonesia.
 

R Cameron

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 19, 2016
Messages
853
The only medication I used is somewhat higher in cost than it is in Australia. As my supply ran out I found an online supplier offering a much lower price. I bought supplies for several months but the items were seized by customs on the basis that they are available in Indonesia.
Were they being shipped into Indonesia or carried in your luggage?
 

harryopal

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2016
Messages
1,102
I was already living in Indonesia so they were sent by Fedex or one of those couriers.
 

Jaime C

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 16, 2016
Messages
994
I was already living in Indonesia so they were sent by Fedex or one of those couriers.
Bad idea to ship prescriptions to Indonesia.

I’ve brought in my hand or checked luggage many vitamins and up to a years worth of prescriptions from other Asian countries or the US.
 

Chiron

Well-Known Member
Cager
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
224
Every year that my wife goes back to Indonesia on an extended visit, her relatives and close friends make a list of supplements to bring for oleh-oleh. The most popular are multivitamins and omega-3, like Centrum Silver and 1000mg fish oil from Costco or WalMart. Invariably she ends up bringing about 10 bottles of these items, and then asks me to bring more, when I go down to meet back up with her. So far we've never been questioned at CGK customs for these kinds of things.

I always found it interesting that she gets these requests. So last year I spent a fair amount of time in several malls from Solo to Semarang, going to Hypermart, Carrefour, GNC, and any other little apotiks I could find in these places. I found that you could actually find similar quality items - especially at GNC, but typically at much higher prices. This not only included vitamins and supplements, but also to workout powders like whey protein. The most notable example was Optimal Nutrition (ON) whey protein isolate. Workout proteins are something I've been using with success for some number of years, however ON is not my favorite, but will due in a pinch. I would pay about $40-$45 for a large container here in the US, but was able to find the exact same thing there (at only one high end mall apotik) for IDR 1.600.000 (or about $110). From that, I then spent time looking at the backs of various supplements to find that most off-the-shelf supplements were at greatly reduced quantities or strengths, and the prices seemed to be similar or more than what's found in the USA for the amount you receive. Then there's the question of quality, which I cannot comment on, as I've not used the Indonesian brands. However, that might likely change, if I end up living there more permanently (i.e. not going back and forth so often). Bringing large tubs of protein powders on a replenishment trip from the US, might attract a little more attention from Indonesian customs.

Ironically, I buy most of my supplements and workout stuff from Amazon. From what I've read on this forum for the past couple years is that Amazon shipments - especially with things like supplements may not make it through. If that's the case, I would have to come up with a new plan for this area of my lifestyle.
 

waarmstrong

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
2,464
Interesting report of your personal research, Chiron. I wonder if the price differential in favor of purchasing in the USA for supplements and vitamins extends to some USDA regulated drugs, as well. My experience (limited to stomach acid production blockers) is that comparable meds purchased in Indonesia are significantly less expensive.
 

Chiron

Well-Known Member
Cager
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
224
Interesting report of your personal research, Chiron. I wonder if the price differential in favor of purchasing in the USA for supplements and vitamins extends to some USDA regulated drugs, as well. My experience (limited to stomach acid production blockers) is that comparable meds purchased in Indonesia are significantly less expensive.

With regards to doctor prescribed pharmaceuticals, I believe this is just the opposite to supplements - they seem to be much cheaper in Indonesia. I only have two case studies on this, but your mileage may vary.

#1: Ampicillin 500mg (Qty. 15). Paid the equivalent of about $7 in Solo for these. I had a similar prescription in the US several years prior, and want to say I paid about $25. In that case, it was less than a third the cost.

#2 (this one has a story): Was having trouble sleeping due to jet lag and local neighborhood noise. I had a prescription from the US for Restoril, that I used occasionally on long flights or these jet lag situations. My two year old bottle that cost me $20 for a quantity of 20 original was down to only one more. So I went out to get it refilled in Solo. After going to several apotiks, they looked at me funny and said I would need a doctor's prescription for this. Someone finally suggested going to a hospital. I was by myself on this errand, and went to the nearest hospital, which turned out to be something like an Islamic focused type of facility. After talking to a couple nurses, they said I should talk to the doctor in the emergency room, who's name happened to be Mohammed. He was very nice and curious how I ended up in this particular emergency room. He knew exactly what Restoril was, but said that Indonesia did not produce or stock this. He then wrote me a prescription for Xanax - of all things. I asked how much I owed for his services, and to my amazement said there was no charge. I then went to the hospital apotik with his prescription, and they handed me 10 tablets, for which I paid about $0.70 (less than a dollar). Looking on the web, I'm finding that Xanax is orders of magnitude more expensive in the USA. As a footnote, I took one of those Xanax tabs (my first time ever), and it just about put me in a "sleep coma" for 14 hours with a really bad hangover the next day. The other nine tablets ended up in the trash after that, as my short Xanax career ended right there.
 

waarmstrong

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
2,464
Did you ever find anyone selling Restoril in Indonesia?
 

Chiron

Well-Known Member
Cager
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
224
Did you ever find anyone selling Restoril in Indonesia?

I actually have not pursued any search after that, and that was about five years ago. It could be that Indonesia has started producing or importing this drug by now.

As a side note, I've been trying to deal with jet lag in a different way - even though it seems to get more difficult as the years wear on. I've been using matcha green tea powder to perk me up during the moments of extended non-sleep. It seems to work much better than coffee, and has sort of a positive, uplifting feel, as opposed to the raw edginess that coffee can have with sleep deprivation. It also allows you sleep better, once it wears off. It's also known to have lots of antioxidants, which I'm told is a good thing for the body.
 

snpark

Well-Known Member
Cager
Joined
Sep 30, 2016
Messages
2,135
As a side note, I've been trying to deal with jet lag in a different way - even though it seems to get more difficult as the years wear on. I've been using matcha green tea powder to perk me up during the moments of extended non-sleep.

Snort or boil on a spoon?
 

waarmstrong

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
2,464
Perhaps a version with more detailed captions would be helpful in facilitating the understanding of persons without any green tea experience.
 

Chiron

Well-Known Member
Cager
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Messages
224
Perhaps a version with more detailed captions would be helpful in facilitating the understanding of persons without any green tea experience.

I can share what I know about matcha green tea powder. I'm not an expert, but just a satisfied consumer.

The first thing to note is that this idea for matcha came out of Japan. It is composed of the finest, and highest quality green tea leaves that are grown in a shaded area. The stems are removed from the leaves, completely dried, and ground to the consistency of baby powder. The resulting powder is then meant to be mixed with a liquid - for me that's usually room temperature bottled water. There are two different grades, with the more expensive one being "ceremonial grade". This is the one I prefer to use, but you get similar results on the regular grade. The company (Rishi) in the above video specializes in the ceremonial grade - they are also the most expensive source. Costco and Walmart started selling the regular grade matcha from a company called Ujido. It's not bad - especially since it's many times cheaper. With Rishi, I do like those little travel matcha packs (sticks). I end up getting several boxes on Amazon before my trips to Indonesia. Typical reactions from people are usually, "wow what happened to your Aqua - why very green?"

The key substance in matcha green tea is the high concentration of theanine, and a moderate amount of caffeine. Theanine is the "feel good" part of the drink. I've also found it very good before doing a major presentation to a group or crowd of people at work. It seems to not only keep you alert, but allows you to focus a little better - which also good for those jet lag moments.
 

waarmstrong

Well-Known Member
Charter Member
Cager
Joined
Jul 17, 2016
Messages
2,464
My comment was intended only for snpark's edification, but thanks for all the detail. I might give it a try for our next Jakarta visit, although I am in the habit of using jet lag as a convenient excuse to do nothing for a few days upon arrival.
 

Users who viewed this discussion (Total:0)

Follow Us

Latest Expat Indo Articles

Latest Activity

New posts Latest threads

Latest Tweets by Expat Indo

Online Now

No members online now.

Newest Members

Forum Statistics

Threads
4,835
Messages
73,942
Members
2,152
Latest member
ironmanjakarta
Top Bottom