‘Most of us assume that we can take our meds on holiday with us when we travel abroad because they’ve been prescribed by a medical professional…’
However, just because you have a prescription from a GP in the UK or US, or wherever your home country is, doesn’t necessarily mean that these medications are accepted at your destination.
It may seem like an unnecessary check to make, but there are a number of nations throughout the world where carrying certain meds will see you falling foul of local laws.
As travellers start to venture further afield, it’s imperative to check whether the substances you’re attempting to take into a foreign country are, in fact, legal there. This could save you a massive headache at customs and, in some cases, save you being imposed with a fine or even a stay in a lovely local jail. No one wants to spend their time off in a cell, right?
Although you may not think you’re doing something wrong, it’s unlikely to be viewed that way in the country you arrive in. Ignorance is no defence, so it’s important to check before you travel.
For example, a genuine script for Diazepam from a Doctor in Dolgellau won’t be viewed favourably when you rock up in Dubai, as it’s a controlled substance there. A line for Tramadol from Tremadog will get you into all sorts of trouble in Turkey, as it’s illegal.
The authorities there don’t care that you obtained it legally in Enfield; they just know it ‘aint acceptable to have in Egypt. If you attempt to take your codeine prescription with you to Thailand, you need a permit or face some time in jail on arrival. I’ve heard jokes about the Bangkok Hilton, but I’m fairly certain being there’s no laughing matter.
It doesn’t just cover prescription drugs…
And it not just prescription drugs that can land you in hot water. If you have a cold when you’re travelling to Tokyo, you won’t be permitted entry with a Vicks Inhaler. It might seem strange to us, but the nasal remedy contains pseudoephedrine, and it’s a controlled substance in Japan.
Travelling to Turkey, which is a massively popular destination for holidaymakers, requires you to take a copy of your prescription to show authorities on arrival. This allows them to verify that the drugs are for personal use only and have been obtained legally.
Before you head off on your travels, check out the new guidance from the Foreign Office on the HealthPro website and get some guidance on the rules and regulations for your destination. It could save you a world of trouble…