A guide on how to send screening test samples and medicine overseas

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The global medical industry is more interconnected than ever, with information, services, and medical samples being shared across borders for research, testing, and personal use. This interconnectedness has opened up new possibilities and opportunities. Still, it also comes with the need for streamlined and effective logistics to ensure the safe and efficient transportation of medical samples and medicines. This is all the more essential since shipping medicine and pharmaceutical prescription drugs involves navigating complex rules and regulations to ensure product safety and consumer well-being. 

Therefore, pharmaceutical companies must be well-versed in country-specific requirements to prevent shipment delays and complications, whether exporting or importing. And in Cambodia, where the medical industry is evolving rapidly, understanding the key aspects of shipping these sensitive items is essential.

The importance of streamlined and effective logistics in the medical industry

In the medical industry, efficient logistics play a critical role in ensuring that medical samples and medicines are delivered to their destinations in optimal condition and within the required timeframes. Therefore, whether it's sending health screening test samples to a medical or drug testing laboratory for analysis or sending medicines overseas for personal use or sale, the logistics process must be carefully managed to maintain product integrity and comply with regulatory requirements. 

How to ship prescription drugs and samples internationally?

To help clinics, laboratories, and individuals in Cambodia navigate the complexities of shipping medical samples and medicines, we've outlined the key aspects to consider:

1. Mode of transport: temperature-controlled logistics

There are many important factors to note when shipping pharmaceutical products. But the most important is the fact that ensuring the integrity and quality of medical shipments, including medicines and test samples, heavily relies on the meticulous management of cold chain logistics.

In general, the transportation of medicines, drugs, and samples requires stringent adherence to temperature-controlled logistics known as cold chain management. By maintaining optimal temperature, humidity, and other conditions throughout the shipping process, the product's efficacy and the sample's integrity will be preserved and will also prevent financial losses. And any form of deviation from the cold chain can result in damage, reduced effectiveness, the complete loss of potency, or even lead to inaccurate medical examination test results.

2. Packaging

Maintaining an unbroken cold chain is vital for the effectiveness and potency of temperature-sensitive medicines. This temperature control chain starts from the moment of production and extends until the point of administration or use, guaranteeing that these critical pharmaceutical products remain potent and efficacious at every stage of the process. This means that proper packaging is also crucial when shipping medical samples and medicines. 

To ensure an uninterrupted cold chain for test samples and temperature-sensitive medicines, several crucial steps must be followed. These measures encompass the utilisation of appropriate packaging, dry ice or gel packs, and temperature-controlled storage containers. This is so that the quality and security of the contents are safeguarded throughout the journey. 

3. Documentation for export and import

Pharmaceutical companies must carefully adhere to the necessary documentation and comply with regulations and prohibitions when sending medicine and samples to destinations within Cambodia and overseas. Based on the specific location and characteristics of the shipment, you may need to provide documentation such as export or import permits, commercial invoices, and packing lists. 

For example, in Cambodia, certain imported products are subject to quantitative restrictions, necessitating importers to obtain approval from the appropriate government ministries or technical agencies. And according to the International Trade Administration, the specific nature and type of imported goods determine the need for import permits or licences issued by the relevant government entities. For instance, pharmaceuticals require import licences, which can be acquired from the Ministry of Health. Pharmaceuticals must also possess a minimum remaining shelf life of 18 months during the inspection process, guaranteeing their efficacy and usefulness. These regulations contribute to maintaining standards and safeguarding the interests of consumers in Cambodia.

4. Checking for restrictions and prohibitions

Before shipping medical samples and medicines, it's important to check for any restrictions or prohibitions imposed by the destination country. Just like how every country has its own regulations regarding the import and export of medical items, Cambodia has its own restrictions too. According to the International Trade Administration, the importation of specific products, such as narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors, toxic waste and poisonous chemicals, as well as certain pesticides, are strictly prohibited in Cambodia. 

Therefore, understanding and complying with these regulations is crucial to avoid any delays or complications and maintain the safety and well-being of the country and its residents. 

5. Tax and duties

When shipping medicines internationally, it's important to be aware of any applicable taxes and duties. At present, Cambodia follows the Harmonised System (HS) Code and the ASEAN Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (AHTN) for tariff classifications. Importers in Cambodia are subject to tariff rates ranging from 0 to 35%, depending on the type of goods. Certain goods, such as pharmaceutical products, however, are exempt from import tariffs. Additionally, a flat 10% value-added tax (VAT) is charged on all imported goods, along with a special tax on specific imported goods. For exporters, Cambodia imposes an export tax on goods leaving the country, ranging from 0 to 50%. 

Cambodia has also established 14 Special Economic Zones (SEZs), providing benefits such as exemption from import duties and VAT for businesses operating within these zones. Moreover, Cambodia is a partner of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement and is a member of regional Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Australia, China, India, Japan, and Korea. To enjoy the benefits of these FTAs, exporters and importers need to obtain a Certificate of Origin from the Export-Import Department.

It is crucial for importers and exporters to have a thorough understanding of the specific documentation requirements and regulations applicable to their transactions in order to ensure compliance with Cambodia's import and export laws.

Partner with DHL Express when shipping medical samples and medicines

When it comes to sending medical samples, prescription drugs and medicines in or out of Cambodia, partnering with a trusted logistics provider like DHL Express is crucial to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of your shipments. This is because DHL Express offers specialised services, such as the DHL Medical Express (WMX) service, designed to meet the unique needs of clinics, laboratories, and individuals shipping medical samples, prescription drugs and medication. These services provide temperature-controlled solutions and cool cargo and ensure the integrity of your shipments during transit through priority handling and dedicated customer service.

DHL Express has extensive experience in handling medical logistics, including the transportation of pharmaceutical products and medical samples. From temperature-controlled shipping solutions to specialised packaging and documentation assistance, we provide end-to-end support to ensure the smooth flow of your medical shipments. Whether you are a clinic, a medical laboratory, or an individual seeking to send medical samples or mail prescription drugs internationally, DHL Express is your trusted partner. Open a DHL Express business account with us today and discover how our specialised medical shipping services can support your clinics, laboratories, and individual shipping needs.