Advice? Help with overseas pharmacy drugs stuck at UPS/US customs.


Senior Member
I am wondering if anyone has run into this sort of problem that I have. Dealing with UPS & US Customs & FDA.

I ordered a medication from an Indian Online Pharmacy that is stuck at UPS customs, but all the info I'm getting about the package is pretty unclear. It's the 4-5th time I've ordered from this pharmacy. But this time the pharmacy used an express carrier shipping when I asked for better tracking since it was a large order. (IndiaPost tracking ends when it leaves India with no tracking within US).

I called UPS yesterday on the phone, and they said they needed a "letter of intent" from me for the medication, thinking that I am a business and ordered it for commercial use. When I told them, its for me to take for my health they said oops, we need something else.

Because I said it's for personal reasons, they said the FDA requires a copy of my prescription and a copy of a non-US citizen's passport. I don't have a non-US passport. I'm a US citizen. (But I know why they said non-US citizen, see FDA & US Custom's website FAQs and guideslines).

I explained that this drug is approved in US but there are drug shortages and US pharmacies have been out for months. And US generally allows drug imports for personal use, and particuarly in this case. But it still has some laws they can use to block it. UPS said to have the doctor write that US supplies are out of stock.

I found this website that helps with FDA detainment: . Looks good, but I don't know why they're holding my package specifically. In their blog, they show examples of cases where they've helped patients successfully & unsucessfully with letters stating Detained - Subject to Refusal" and "Detained - Subject to Refusal & Administrative Destruction".

So I asked UPS to send me the formal FDA letter "Notice of FDA action" and the UPS person said that my package is "not detained" but that they still need documentations to send to "them" to decide if it can be allowed to enter US.

Complications to Case:
What makes my situation a bit difficult, where I'm having trouble knowing what to do is:
  • I ordered 2 months worth of medication for 2 people (but only 1 name on package), so it looks like 4 months worth of supply. But FDA generally allows for only 3 months supply.
    • Saying it's for 2 people (me & sibling) would be more complicated.
  • Drug is being used off label for Long Covid & ME/CFS (so non-FDA approved uses).
  • Prescription written by parent (same last name) who is a doctor, but currently retired. They CANNOT risk losing license, investigation, lawsuit, etc. as I and my family really depends on them.
  • Risk losing $800 of meds
  • UPS sent email saying it's not detained, but still held and need documentations.
  • Don't know exactly how legit Indian pharmacy is (licensed and registered in India), bc I'd need to prove it's equivalently safe as US pharmacy.
  • UPS is just handling 2nd leg of shipment. Originally sent via Aramex (Saudi shipping co.) from India to Kentucky and their customer service isn't responding to me.
  • Indian pharmacy guy slow to respond to messages. I don't know what he proposes as a solution.
If it was a standard doctor who wrote this prescription, I'd just submit everything to UPS and then go through appeal/legal process. Because I likely have valid reason to import it since there are shortages in the US

What to do?:
  • Can I refuse my package?
  • Will it be returned to sender in India?
    • I'd rather eat the shipping cost than the whole amount. And have the Indian pharmacy reship it with USPS & with proper documentation (ie not commercial invoice).
    • I thought in cases when package is rejected by customs it goes back to sender.
  • Can I get my sender (Indian Pharmacy) to fix this?
  • Any ideas?
Going to ask & post here too ( but PR was my first thought.

Thank you.


Psalm 46:1-3
Great Lakes
Not sure if this will help: (Though your case sounds slightly different where information was already exchanged with UPS so I don't know. :( )

I got it from the selections on this search page so maybe one of these sites will have a more similar situation:'s a rough situation for sure. Hope it gets resolved and you don't lose all that money.