Importing medicines for personal use in the form of consignments
Postal consignments containing medicinal products from abroad are not allowed and may be stopped by Norwegian Customs. The strict regulation aims to prevent incorrect use and protect consumers from illegal medicinal products.
Importing medicinal products by post is prohibited
Both non-prescription (over-the-counter) and prescription medicinal products may be stopped. Even if you have been given a prescription by a Norwegian doctor, it does not entitle you to purchase a corresponding medicine from abroad. Remember that a product may be considered medicinal in Norway even if it is not considered to be one in the country from which the product is being imported. Illegally imported medicines may be confiscated and destroyed by Norwegian Customs.
Approved Norwegian online pharmacies
There are approved Norwegian online pharmacies which send both non-prescription and prescription medicines by post.
In the case of illegal imports, you may be reported to the police (depending on the severity of the offence). You may be reported for a breach of the Medicinal Products Act, Section 31, or the Penal Code, Section 231 and 232 (narcotic substances) or Section 234 and 235 (doping agents).
Anyone who imports products has a responsibility to be aware of the regulations applicable to the import of goods and services and can therefore not expect to get any money back if Norwegian Customs stop an illegally imported product.
Be careful about what you order online
Many products which are available from foreign websites are advertised as dietary supplements or cosmetics. You should be aware that the Norwegian authorities have not necessarily assessed whether such products are safe to use. If you order such products, you bear much of the risk associated with their import and use.
Many foreign online pharmacies operate illegally. There is a considerable risk that the medicines that they sell are counterfeit and do not contain what is stated on the packaging. The doses may be either too low, with the desired effect not achieved, or too high, with the resultant risk of severe side effects.
What may be stopped by Norwegian Customs?
Importing medicinal products for personal use is not allowed. However, the boundary between medicinal products and other products can be hard to understand.
The following section presents some guidelines and advice for assessing whether a product is allowed to import.
Vitamins and minerals
Private individuals are not permitted to import poisonous herbs, herbs containing narcotic substances or herbs with strong effects or health risks. There is no comprehensive list of such herbs, but below is a list of herbs that are not allowed for import, based on the criteria cited above.
If a herb or product is not included in this list, you must assess its safety and legality yourself by reading the classification criteria or sending an email to email@example.com.
Products marketed as "herbal medicine" or "traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) are considered medical products, based on the marketing of the products.
For questions about food supplements, please contact Mattilsynet.
List of poisonous herbs, herbs with narcotic substances, strong effects or otherwise not allowed to import (Updated 07.12.2020):
|Latin name/ Scientific name||Norwegian name||English names/other names|
|Achyrantes bidentata||||Ox knee, niu xi|
|Aconitum napellus||Venusvogn, Storhjelm||Aconite, Monkshood|
|Aconitum septentrionale||Tyrihjelm||Scandinavian Monkshood|
|Adonis vernalis||Våradonis||Pheasant's eye|
|Amanita muscaria||Fluesopp||Fly agaric|
|Ammi visnaga||Tannstikke||Toothpick-plant, Khella|
synonym Anthemis pyrethrum.
|Pyrethrumrot, Bertam||Spanish chamomile, Pellitory|
|Anagallis arvensis||Nonsblom||Scarlet pimpernel|
|Anamirta cocculus||Levant Berry|
|Aphanizomenon flos-aquae||AFA-alge||Blue-Green Algae|
|Areca catechu/semen||Betelnøtt, Arekanøtt||Betel nut|
|Argyreia Nervosa/ Argyeria Speciosa||Elephant creeper, hawaiian baby woodrose, wolly morning glory|
|Aristolochia species||Holurt arter|
|Artemisia cina||Santonica, Levant wormseed|
|Asarum europaeum||Hasselurt||Hazelwort, Wild ginger, Asarabacca|
|Baptisia tinctoria||Vill indigo||Yellow false indigo, Horseflyweed|
|Bryonia alba||Svartgallbær||White bryony, Wild hop|
|Caladium seguinum (Dieffenbachia seguine)||Dumbcane|
|Cephaelis ipecacuanha (Uragoga ipecacuanha)||
|Brazil Root, Ipecac Syrup|
(se Cinchonae cortex)
|Cinae flos||Ormefrø, Cina, Artemisia cina||Levant wormwood, Chamomile–leaved artemisia|
|Claviceps purpurea||Meldrøye, Sekale||Ergot/ Ergot of rye, St. Antony's fire|
|Clematis vitalba||Klematis, tysk||Traveler's Joy, Old Man's Beard|
Colchicum autumnale/ Speciosum/ vernum
|Tidløs||Autumn Crocus, Wild Saffron|
|Conium maculatum||Skarntyde, Giftkjeks||Hemlock|
|Cynoglossum officinale||Hundetunge||Hound's Tongue|
|Cytisus scoparius||Gyvel||Scotch broom|
|Datura-species||Piggeple, Stramonium||Jimson weed, Devil's snare|
|Digitalis purpurea og lanata||Revebjelle, Digitalis||Foxglove|
|Dryopteris filix-mas||Ormetelg||Male fern|
|Escholtzia californica||Kaliforniavalmue||California poppy|
|Euphorbia cyparissias||Vortemelk, sypress||Cypress spurge|
|Euphorbia resinifera||Resin spurge|
|Fritillaria meleagris||Rutelilje||Snake's head|
|Fumara officinalis||Jordrøyk||Common fumitory, Earth-smoke|
|Galega officinalis||Geitvikke||Goat's Rue|
|Gelsemium sempervirens,||Jasmin, gul||False Jasmine|
Nepeta Glecoma /Hederacea
|Korsknapp||Ground ivy, the aerial parts of Glechoma hederacea|
|Helleborus niger||Nyserot, sort||Black Hellebore|
|Hyoscyamus niger||Villrot, Bulmeurt||Henbane, Stinking nightshade|
|Hypericum perforatum||Johannesurt, Prikkperikum|
|Ipecacuanhae radix||Brekkrot, Ipekakuanharot||
|Mexican Scammony Root|
|Ipomoea reptans||Morning Glory|
|Juniperus sabina||Sevenbom, Sabina||Savin Tops|
|Ma Huang||Ephedra arter|
|Satans eple||Alrune Mandragora, (European) Mandrake|
|Melia azadirachta fructus||Kinabær fra nimtre/ Nimtre||
Chinaberry tree, Neem friut, Neem Tree, Pride of China
|Menispermum canadense||Moonseed = Tinospora Cordifolia|
Mimosa hostilis/ tenuiflora
|Nucis vomicae semen||Revekake, Nux vomica|
Sacred blue lilly, Blue lotus
|Panaeolus species||Panaeolus arter|
|Panaeolus cyanescens||Blånende flekkskivesopp||Blue meanie|
|Pausinystalia yohimbe||Johimbe||Yohimbe, Yohimbin|
|Physostigma venenosum||Kalabarbønne||Calabar Bean|
|Phytolacca americana, Phytolacca decandra||Poke, Kermesbær||Pokeweed|
|Pilocarpus-species||Pilocarpus-arter||Jaborandi (=Pilocarpus microphyllus)|
|Piper methysticum||Kawa-Kawa, Kava|
|Podophyllum hexandrum||Amerikansk Podofyllum||Podophyllum, Mandrake|
|Podophyllum peltatum||Mandrake||American Mandrake|
|Polygonatum officinale (= odoratum)||Kantkonvall||Solomon's seal|
|Polygonum multiflora||||He Shou Wu|
|Rauvolfia serpentina||Indian Snakeroot||Rauwolfia Serpentine, Snakewood|
African Snakeroot, Serpent Wood
|Rhododendron ferrugineum||Rusty-leaved Rhododendron|
Rhus toxicodendron (alsoToxicodendron vernix)
Toxicodendron radicans, synonym Rhus radicans
Ricinus communis semen,
|Sabadillae semen/ Schoenocaulon Officinale||Sabadillefrø/Sabadille|
|Salvia divinorum||Sage of the diviners|
|Sassafras albidum (= officinale)||Sassafras|
|Scilla maritima||Strandløk||(Sea) squill, Squilla|
|Secale cornutum||Sekale, Meldrøye||Ergot|
|Senecio jacobaea||Landøyda||Tansy ragwort|
|Sida cordifolia||Flannel weed|
|Solanum dulcamara||Slyngsøtvier||Bittersweet nightshade|
|Solanum nigrum||Svartsøtvier||European black nightshade, petty morel|
|Stramonii folium||Stramoniumblad, piggepleblad||Thorn apple|
|Strychnos nux-vomica||Stryknintre||Nux Vomica|
|Tabernanthe iboga||Svart klaseormdrue (Iboga), Rotbark||Iboga|
|Teucrium scorodonia||Firtann||Wood Sage|
|Thuja occidentalis||Tuja||Northern white-cedar, Thuja|
|Toxicodendron vernix (Rhus toxicodendron)||Poison sumac|
|Valeriana mexicana||Valeriane, meksikansk|
|Valeriana wallichii||Valeriane, indisk|
|Veratrum album||Nyserot||European white hellebore|
|Vinca minor||Gravmyrt||Lesser periwinkle|
|Xanthium strumarium||Grønnkrokfrø||Common cocklebur|
Food supplements containing only vitamins, minerals, and herbs (not on the list above) are generally allowed to be imported for private use. This only applies if the product is not marketed as a medicinal product or with medicinal claims. Many foreign websites sell "supplements" that have substances in them regarded as medicinal in Norway. These products may be illegal to import and harmful to use. There are many unserious actors selling health products. Helsenorge has a website (in Norwegian) with some guidelines regarding buying health products online.
Products that are considered medicinal products
A product can be classified as medicine either by its effects (functionally medicinal) or presented with medicinal claims (medicine by presentation) and intended for human or animal use.
If a substance found in a product, is marketed as medicine in Norway or another country, it will generally be regarded as a medicinal product, and stopped at customs.
You can read more about what makes a product classified as medicine and read a list of what makes something a medicinal product. We also have a list of illegal herbs(above), narcotics (in Norwegian) and doping products (in Norwegian).
Some products may be marketed as cosmetics or food supplements abroad but contain substances or make claims that make the products classified as medicines in Norway. Therefore, even if something is labelled "cosmetics" or "food supplements", it does not mean that these products are considered as such in Norway.
There are also many products sold containing "natural" plant-derived substances. Whether or not a substance is "natural" or "synthetic" does not affect the classification of the substance and the product may still be considered a pharmaceutical product. These products may therefore not be imported, as private import of medicinal products is not allowed.
For example, products containing plant progesterone, a kind of progesterone, will still be considered medicinal products, since progesterone is a medicinal substance.
Exceptions - substances which will not be stopped
Some substances can be considered to be medicinal in one product, but not in another. Examples of such substances are:
- alpha lipoic acid
- omega-3 fatty acids
- melatonin (products that contain more than 1 mg/daily dose is generally medicinal in Norway)
Products containing these substances will normally not be stopped by Norwegian Customs if they are not being marketed as medicinal products.
If you have any questions about food supplements, please direct your questions to Mattilsynet, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
Substances that will be stopped in customs
Many substances are not ingredients in market medicinal products, but are still powerful and therefore not allowed for private import. There is no conclusive list of these substances. If a website claims that a product can heal or alleviate a specific illness or have a significant effect on your physiology, this might point toward the product being considered a medicine. The product may therefore not be allowed to import. Examples of such substances are:
- Huperzine a
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs)
SARMs are a group of substances that selectively bind to androgen receptors in different parts of the body. The binding stimulates anabolic effects. SARMs are considered medicinal products and are therefore not allowed to import. Examples of such substances are Ostarine(Mk-2866), Ligandrol (LGD-4033), RAD140(Testolone).
Nootropics describe a multitude of substances meant to improve cognition. Many of these substances are marketed as "smart drugs" that improve concentration and learning. These substances are not allowed to import by post, and packages containing nootropics will be stopped by customs. This may also apply to substances marketed as nootropics that may not otherwise fit the description.
Examples of nootropic substances:
Products derived from the cannabis plant are, regardless of THC content, considered narcotics in Norway. Therefore, these products can not be imported for personal use.
CBD is one of many substances found in the cannabis plant and has little or no intoxicating effect in itself. But, CBD products often contain residues of the narcotic substance THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), even though the list of contents claims that the product contains no THC.
The presence of THC means that the product will be considered to be a narcotic and may therefore not be imported privately. There are currently one approved medicine containing only CBD on the Norwegian market (Epidyolex).
If you have any questions regarding the medicinal use of CBD you need to speak to your doctor. Your doctor can apply for exemption from the requirement for approval for such medicines, and the pharmacy will order the medicine for you. Exemption from approval does not give entitlement to private importation.
If the rules regarding CBD change, we will update our website. We also have (in Norwegian) an expanded section of our website on CBD for businesses that want to import or sell CBD products.
Privately imported homoeopathic medicines (except for injectable products) will not be stopped in customs if shipped from an EU/EEA country.
Medicinal products for animals
Importing medicinal products for animals is not allowed. If your animal needs medical treatment, talk to your veterinarian.
Private import of electronic cigarettes is only allowed from EU/EEA countries. Import is only allowed for people who want to quit smoking. You need to be able to document this by a doctor's note or prescription. Import may not exceed three months of use.
We cannot carry out an advance assessment of whether or not a product is likely to be stopped by Norwegian Customs - why is that?
My package has been stopped - why?
To request an explanation of why Norwegian Customs have stopped your package, please send an e-mail with a list of:
- the product(s) contained in the consignment
- if possible, a link to online information about the product(s)
- Copy of the notification letter from customs
Send your e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will assess whether the package has been stopped by mistake and reply to you before the package is returned or destroyed.
If possible, you should send your email as soon as possible after getting the letter from customs (varselbrev). This gives us time to request any additional necessary information and communicate with customs and the courier.
We may only give an opinion on the content after the package has been inspected by Norwegian Customs. This is because we must assess the actual content of the package in collaboration with Norwegian Customs.
Import permits in special cases
In some cases, the Norwegian Medicines Agency may permit imports of medicinal products for personal use if they are vital to the importer's health. For example, this could apply to people who:
- Are on holiday or staying temporarily in Norway
- Have recently arrived in Norway and are not yet registered with a doctor
- Have started treatment abroad and are being sent medicinal products which are necessary to complete the treatment
The Medicines agency cannot give import permits to medicines containing narcotic substances, or doping agents. Please do not send sensitive medical information in your email. However, we do require information about the contents of the shipment and a reason for why you feel you should get an import permit, based on the criteria listed above.
How do I apply for an import permit?
We do not issue import permits or evaluate the content until Norwegian Customs have inspected the package. This is because we must assess the actual contents of the package in collaboration with Customs.
If customs stop a package, the courier company will send you a notification alongside a letter (varselbrev).
Upon receiving this letter, send an email to your courier with a copy to email@example.com. For the Norwegian postal service, this email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. The courier, not customs or the medicines agency, has the package until it is destroyed or delivered.
In the email, describe the case and supply the necessary documentation:
- A copy of the letter you received (varselbrev)
- A short explanation of why you are eligible for an import permit (without unnecessary personal information)
- Medical documentation, such as prescriptions or doctor's notes.
The courier company will register your case and forward it to NOMA for evaluation. Please make contact as early as possible in the process to avoid the destruction of your product. Because of administration and postage, the delivery of your package will be delayed while the case is being sorted out. The importer is personally responsible for any private import of medicines and any unintended side effects from using these products. NOMA only assures the quality of officially approved medicines in Norway.
Medicinal products which are not available in Norway
The Norwegian Medicines Agency does not usually issue import permits to private individuals if the argument is that the medicinal product is not available in Norway. However, your doctor can apply for exemption from the requirement for approval for such medicines ("godkjenningsfritak"), and the pharmacy will provide you with the medicinal product. Godkjenningsfritak does not grant permission to import the medicines privately.