Be VERY careful what medicines you pack in your luggage: The everyday drugs that could land you in PRISON if you try to take them on holiday
- The Foreign Office has compiled a list of medicines that are banned abroad
- Painkillers such as Tramadol are illegal in the UAE and tourists could be jailed
- Sudafed and Vicks both contain an ingredient that is banned in Japan
Packing sleeping pills, painkillers or even cough medicine might seem like a good idea to ward off any unexpected illness while abroad.
But taking everyday drugs on holiday could land holidaymakers in a foreign prison due to local laws on medication, the Foreign Office is warning.
Both prescription and over-the-counter treatments that are widely available in the UK are often subject to different regulations in destinations around the world.
The Foreign Office has compiled a list of tablets and medicines that are banned in different countries abroad that tourists should not pack when they go on holiday
And now the Foreign Office has compiled a list of tablets and medicines that are banned in different countries abroad.
For example, not complying with local laws on strong painkillers such as Tramadol and codeine could see holidaymakers facing a fine or even jail in places such as the United Arab Emirates.
In Japan there is an outright ban on the ingredient pseudoephedrine, meaning the likes of Sudafed and Vicks cannot be brought into the country.
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Sleeping pills, anti-anxiety tablets and strong painkillers all require a licence in Singapore.
While in Indonesia, many prescription medicines such as codeine, sleeping pills and treatments for ADHD are illegal.
And while some medicines aren’t illegal abroad, countries still have strict rules on bringing them into the country.
In Qatar, over-the-counter medicines such as cold and cough remedies are controlled substances and must be accompanied by a prescription.
Not complying with local laws on strong painkillers such as Tramadol and codeine could see holidaymakers facing a fine or even jail in places such as the United Arab Emirates (file picture)
Tourists should always carry a doctor’s note with any personal medicine when visiting China.
And while visiting Costa Rica, travellers should only take enough medication for the length of their stay along with a doctor’s note to confirm it is the right amount.
The FCO is urging British people who take medication to check local laws in destinations they are travelling to this summer.
Currently, just one third of people get advice on taking prescribed medication abroad before they travel.
In addition to this, fewer than one in five would think to check rules on non-prescription medication such as cough syrups and some allergy medication before travelling, even though these are banned in some countries.
The FCO is also urging travellers to check its website and with their GP to check the status of their medication while abroad.
Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist Michael Wong said: ‘No one wants their holiday to be spoilt by unexpected or unforeseen restrictions when travelling abroad.
In Qatar, over-the-counter medicines such as cold and cough remedies are controlled substances and must be accompanied by a prescription (file picture)
THE LAWS ON MEDICATION AROUND THE WORLD
- Medication containing pseudoephedrine is banned in Japan. The ingredient is found in the likes of Sudafed and Vicks, meaning it is outlawed in the country.
- Sleeping pills, anti-anxiety tablets and strong pain killers all require a licence in Singapore.
- In Indonesia, many prescription medicines such as codeine, sleeping pills and treatments for ADHD are illegal.
- Over-the-counter medicines such as cold and cough remedies are controlled substances in Qatar and must be accompanied by a prescription.
- Tourists should always carry a doctor’s note with any personal medicine when visiting China.
- If visiting Costa Rica, tourists should only take enough medication for the length of their stay along with a doctor’s note to confirm it is the right amount.
- Strong painkillers such as Tramadol and codeine as well as Diazepam are controlled drugs in a number of countries. Tourists should check the laws on them before they visit. In many countries, failing to comply with regulations can result in a fine or imprisonment in places such as Greece and the UAE.
Source: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office
‘Whilst your local UK pharmacist can advise on what medication you need and how best to manage it whilst away on holiday, it’s important to also check what restrictions are in place for where you are travelling, and you can do this via the FCO’s Foreign Travel Checklist.
‘In some cases where restrictions haven’t been adhered to, your medication could be confiscated which if you are living with a long-term condition can affect your health. Therefore, if you’re unsure, we would advise you to check the FCO’s website for the latest information on how best to prepare.’
While Julia Longbottom, FCO consular director, added: ‘We can see that British people are more likely to research the weather before their holidays than research the local laws and customs, so while you’re online checking out whether or not to pack sunscreen, we’d strongly encourage you to check whether taking medication into a country is okay or not. You should also read our travel advice.
‘The FCO can’t give legal advice or get people out of prison, so we are urging those heading off on their summer break to join the 16 million people a year who check our Travel Advice, to ensure they are properly prepared for their trip and avoid any potential trouble.’
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