These days, more and more people are taking medication abroad when they travel. However, while most people check the weather at their destination before a trip, very few check the local laws, especially those concerning medicines.
However, this can be quite important as many countries have restrictions of what most people think of as common over-the-counter medicines such as cough syrups or allergy pills. Here are some laws to keep in mind when taking medication abroad.
The use, or possession, of medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, a decongestant used Vicks Inhalers or Sudafed are banned in Japan. Those who violate can face detention and deportation.
Over-the-counter medicines such as cold and cough remedies are controlled substances in Qatar and must be accompanied with a prescription.
Greece and the UAE
Diazepam, Tramadol, codeine and a number of other commonly prescribed medicines are “controlled drugs” in Greece and the UAE. Failing to comply with regulations can result in arrest, a fine, or imprisonment.
In Singapore, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety pills, and strong painkillers all require a licence.
Many prescription medicines such as codeine, sleeping pills and treatments for ADHD are illegal in Indonesia.
Costa Rica and China
In both Costa Rica and China visitors should bring a doctor’s note with any personal medication. Also, try to bring only the amount needed for the length of your stay.
Other Tips for Taking Medication Abroad
1. Always carry medication in your carry-on bag
Carry your medication in your carry-on bag or purse as you might have to explain why you have it. You also never know if your checked-in bags might be delayed leaving you without medication for a few days.
2. Bring a written prescription with dosage from your doctor
Bringing a written prescription is not only useful at immigration but is also helpful if you need to replenish or replace your medication. You can take it to a pharmacy and get an emergency refill.
3. Keep the medicine in its original container
Once again this helps when you need to get more medication, while at the same time making it clear to airport security what you’re carrying.
4. Have a system for taking medication at the same time every day
With medication that you have to take at the same time every day, such as oral contraception, time zones can mess up your schedules. So make sure to either switch times, or set an alarm on your phone after converting timezones.