Taking medicine, whether that’s over the counter or prescription, is such an integral part of daily life that most of us wouldn’t even consider the fact that traveling with medication could be a problem. Yet there are some countries where certain medications are illegal, even popular medications freely available in America. Also, even if your medicine is legal, there are certain precautions you should take before getting out the suitcase.
If you are carrying a medication which is illegal in another country, it could be confiscated which could potentially be dangerous to your health. Even worse, you could face imprisonment. Jail time is rare, but it has been known to happen, so it is always best to take precautions to make sure you’re not going to find yourself in such a situation.
Which medicines might be problematic?
In general, most over the counter medication is fine especially if it’s just a small amount. However, there are certain medications that are used for colds, allergies and pain relief that might be a problem. Japan and the United Arab Emirates are very strict when it comes to those medications so if either of those are your destination you need to consult your doctor and the embassy to check.
The primary medicines which you need to be aware of are narcotics (this includes opioids such as morphine and codeine) and psychotropics (used to treat depression, anxiety, etc).
International law says that travelers are allowed medicines for personal use, usually only a 30-day supply. Travelers need a letter or prescription from their doctor if carrying narcotic substances.
If you are taking any medication which has an impact on the central nervous system or you’re flying to Japan or the United Arab Emirates with any kind of medication at all, you need to do some research as well as following the guidelines below for packing medication.
Consult with your doctor
If you’re planning a trip, consult with your doctor a few weeks beforehand. If your doctor doesn’t know, he or she will have the resources to find out.
Check with travel insurance and contact the embassy
You can contact your travel insurance agency to see if they have any information and it would also be a good idea to get in touch with the foreign embassy of your destination country to find out which medications are illegal or problematic.
Label your medication
Keep all medications in their original packaging together with the prescription. Ensure that the name on the prescription matches the name on your passport. If you can’t locate your prescription, request another copy from your doctor or pharmacist. If you’re carrying narcotics, it is also advisable to get a letter from your physician explaining the medications prescribed and why you need them.
Be sure to consult the rules for carrying liquids in your hand luggage when flying.
If you are traveling for more than 30 days, your doctor might need to get creative since some countries cap the amount of medication allowed. Your doctor might want to change the dosage or switch to a different medication.
You may also want to consider ordering directly from IsraelPharm to the country you are heading to. If the drug you are ordering is legal in that country, it will mean you can stay with your original medications and dosage and not have to worry about travelling with the medicine, especially if your trip is for over 30 days.
It might seem frustrating to have to follow these guidelines but they will ensure you can safely travel with the medication you need without worrying about confiscation, and in the worst scenario, imprisonment.