This is a common question for people considering ordering modafinil online, especially since many online pharmacies may appear sketchy to newcomers. Answering this question requires taking a look at the various policies of different nations. However, it should be mentioned that ultimately there is very little risk to you as a purchaser. Items that go to your mail may be seized, but effectively there is almost never a case of someone suffering legal consequences as a result. It’s simply too trivial and also too difficult for a person to be prosecuted, as the recipient can always deny having ordered the item.
However for the interests of this post I’ll explain some of the laws currently on the books for modafinil and armodafinil in different regions. Modafinil and armodafinil are classified as POM (Prescription only Medicines) but are not classified as illegal narcotics anywhere.
For those of us in the UK, modafinil is quite easy to get. The UK permits the import of prescription only medicines (POMs) up to a 180 pill supply (6 months). Larger orders can be seized. Proper customs forms should be filled out and attached to the shipment. VAT may be added to the purchase price of the order, depending on its value and whether or not it was properly declared. If it is revised and VAT is added, then it must be paid prior to picking up the order from a local post office.
American citizens have it the worst when it comes to ordering medicine online. The US pharmaceutical industry is the largest in the world, and in order to generate a profit they have persuaded lawmakers to prohibit the import of all prescription medicines. This ensures that they can sell their pills exclusively to American customers, whose insurance policies generally cover the exorbitant cost of the medicine.
In practice, many shipments slip through the cracks and not all packages are searched or seized. Likewise, there is almost no enforcement on individuals. The FDA generally looks to stop large scale importers from bringing in large quantities of medicine to sell later at a profit; nobody is going to knock down grandma’s door because she ordered some medicine from Canada or elsewhere.
In the European Economic Area one would expect laws to be more or less uniform, however that is far from the current situation. All EU countries allow POM imports from other EU countries. It gets trickier when the product in question is being imported from outside the EU.
Sweden and Finland allow up to a one year’s supply of any POM via mail order, meaning that there is no risk of a seizure. France is similar although they limit the import to a three months’ supply. The Netherlands has a policy similar to the UK’s. The rest of the countries appear to enforce their own laws, most of which state that in order to import a medicine one must have a valid prescription. Prescriptions from one EU country are usually honored by the others as long as they have been translated.
In practice one country’s enforcement often differs from another, with many people commenting that Spain is one of the most relaxed countries and Germany is among the strictest.
If in doubt, it may be beneficial to get a prescription locally and use it to import modafinil or armodafinil legally. Due to the subsidized cost of medicine in the EU, getting a prescription is usually trivial.
Health Canada (the single payer system in the country) prohibits the importation of POMs for personal use via mail. People travelling into Canada may bring them, but mail order is right out. Canada does enforce their policies fairly frequently and so it’s quite possible that a shipment may be detained, however as previously mentioned this does not equate to prosecution. A letter is sent to the shipping address informing the recipient of the action taken.
To purchase an approved POM (like modafinil) online from Australia you are supposed to have a valid prescription issued in Australia. Australia is one of the strictest countries when it comes to mail order enforcement, so it is quite likely that they will seize an order and request your prescription upon arrival.
Non-approved medical items, such as an herbal supplement, may be imported up to a 90-days’ supply. As such, many users have found that importing small orders of modafinil tend to go undetected. But it would be wise to have the proper documentation first.
Laws in South America are often quite uniform, but enforcement is wildly varied. Countries with strong drug presences such as Colombia and Peru tend to have stricter enforcement of drug import/export laws to comply with international pressures. Also, as medicine is quite cheap, few people resort to ordering online. Seized shipments do occur, but it’s often more likely that the shipment has gotten lost in the shuffle as South American postal services are notorious for their inefficiency. Many websites warn customers that orders to some South American countries will not be eligible for a refund should the package not arrive due to a combination of these factors.
Asian countries tend to be very strict with their drug import laws. Japan for instance allows up to a 30 day supply for a select list of POMs, and completely prohibits the import of higher scheduled prescriptions such as Adderall. Modafinil is not an approved medication on Japan’s lists and some importers have actually been prosecuted.
Chinese laws are complex and generally prohibitive. However due to the large volume of shipments that pass through China enforcement is less common than in other countries.
Thailand and Indonesia are more relaxed with their import laws and allow POM imports for up to a 30-days’ supply, if and only if the item to be imported has already been approved by local authorities. Orders over the 30 day amount require an import license.