Pharma Packaging Expert Warns Against TikTok Tic Tac Travel Hack

Pharmaceutical packaging firm Origin urges travelers not to adopt travel hack as popularized on social media platform.

Repackaging medicines for travel can result in serious holdups.
Repackaging medicines for travel can result in serious holdups.

As airline travel approaches and exceeds pre-pandemic levels, travelers are seeking space-saving strategies for lighter bags. However, following travel advice from one TikTok video could lead to misunderstandings, warns Steve Brownett-Gale from pharmaceutical packaging company Origin.

“With the summer holidays in full swing, holidaymakers are naturally on the hunt for tricks and tips to make traveling abroad as easy as possible,” says Brownett-Gale. “However, one TikToker’s recommendation to swap your medication packaging for a Tic Tac box could see you banned from your flight.”

Empty Tic Tac containers might appear ideal for storing a small amount of medication for short trips, being compact and durable. However, using these containers in place of the original pharmaceutical packaging can lead to complications that go beyond flight bans.

Many countries require medication to be in original packaging when traveling abroad, Brownett-Gale explains. "If medication isn't in its original packaging or the label is unclear, airport security might struggle to identify it."

He emphasizes that using candy boxes for medicine can cause unanticipated issues such as delays or even prevent boarding.

“Dispensing medication into easy-to-access sweet packets is also highly discouraged, especially if you’re traveling with children,” says Brownett-Gale.

Because pharmaceutical packaging is carefully designed to protect children and prevent accidental consumption of harmful substances, placing tablets in candy-like containers increases the risk of incorrect dosage and serious consequences.

“It can be all too easy for children to mistake tablets for sweets, which could be fatal for the wrong medication and dosage,” he warns.

Additionally, removing medication from its original packaging could compromise its efficacy. “Light, moisture and air can quickly degrade the medication's stability and potency, which the original packaging is designed to protect the product from,” says Brownett-Gale.

Prior to travel, Brownett-Gale recommends understanding destination regulations, particularly in places like Dubai with varying controlled medication rules. Travelers needing antidepressants or sleeping tablets should be prepared to prove their necessity. Some countries, like the UK, prohibit carrying more than a three-month supply of medication.