Biomedical research is, by its very nature, a very international endeavor. Researchers routinely contact, quote, and work side by side with scientists from all over the globe. But even if science knows no borders, most local authorities are not very keen on letting bioreagents pass freely through customs.

No matter where you are, importing biomedical products from other parts of the world can be a bureaucratic nightmare, especially if you don’t know how to sail the turbulent waters of foreign policy.

Join us in an overview of this complex and ever-relevant process.

Why are my biomaterials getting held up by customs?

First, let’s consider why this is even happening at all. For any bioreagent produced within the borders of the European Union, this problem should almost never arise, as the free flow of products, services, and people provided by this alliance allows to buy and sell reagents, as all the countries involved share equivalent regulations regarding them.

However, if the bioreagent you seek out is produced overseas, which is very probable considering some of the biggest manufacturers are located either in China or the USA, the product will inevitably go through customs.

Border authorities are entitled to stop all and any packages that they consider worth stopping for suspicions about their value, origin, or appearance. They can stop it due to a lack of proper permits or paperwork, a need for a special inspection, a mismanagement of the value and price of the product or even any taxes or tariffs missing.

In the case of a bioreagent, the most common reason for retention is the need for a sanitary inspection or a lack of proper paperwork, as the specialized agent will want to check the technical sheet of the reagent.

How do I fix this?

Getting rid of this bureaucratic problem can be a daunting task for any researcher. After all, national or international customs law can be an organism of its own, one most scientists didn’t spend their lives studying.

Depending on the reason for the retention, different actions might be needed to get out of the bind. Sometimes, it will be as easy as contacting the manufacturer, getting the updated technical sheet and then sending it to the customs office, while in other cases you might need to hire a customs officer from your own pocket to deal with a particular inspection.

This issue can be fully exacerbated if your reagent is stopped at the midpoint of its journey, and is being reviewed by a customs authority foreign to you, making communication considerably harder.

In any case, expect additional costs and tariffs to be added to the cost of the bioreagent, as well as considerable delays on the promised delivery date.

Is there a better way?

Luckily for anyone plagued by these issues, there are a few companies like Abyntek Biopharma that specialize, among other things, in dealing with the intricacies of the customs bureaucracy.

At Abyntek we assume the often inevitable costs of tariffs and customs officers as part of our price, making it so there is no unexpected expense for our client.

Additionally, we have more than 15 years of experience under our belts when dealing with the complexity of this topic, and have a nearly spotless track record resolving this kind of issue, making sure every reagent reaches its destination on time.

A practical case: A UK import lacking the paperwork

Recently a researcher ordered a set of an Antibody and its matching buffer straight from St. John’s Lab, the manufacturer, in an attempt to cut corners. Normally, this would be easy shipping, but since the UK left the EU, customs are especially strict with imports from the British Isles.

The shipping company contacted the researcher, informing him of the retention and putting him in contact with the customs officer. They needed the technical sheet of the products and the provider was not collaborating.

It took the researcher a whole week to get the technical sheet, as he had to contact and deal with the provider while he performed his usual lab duties. By the time the customs agent got the paperwork, the reagents were spoiled, and the researcher had lost hours of work and thousands of euros in reagents.

It was for the second order that he sought the help of Abyntek Biopharma. Using our considerable experience in these kinds of situations, we managed to ensure the reagents arrived at the researcher’s lab in the expected period of time and without any additional overcost.

Request a quote at Abyntek Biopharma for international bioreagents 



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