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Holidaymakers must check medicines before travelling, says FCO

08 June 2018 08:40

Holidaymakers are urged to check rules on carrying medicines

Holidaymakers are urged to check rules on carrying medicines

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has warned holiday-goers that some commonly-prescribed medicines are "controlled drugs" in certain countries.

Holidaymakers are urged to check rules on carrying medicines into the countries they're visiting.

Risk of fine or imprisonment

Travellers who fall foul of local rules could face a fine or even imprisonment for bringing illegal medicines into certain countries.

A survey by the FCDO showed that only a third of adults take time to check the travel rules on medicine transportation before embarking on a long-haul trip.

With almost half the UK population on prescribed medication, that means around 21 million UK travellers could face problems on their travels.

Certain medicines which can be bought over-the-counter in the UK but which contain pseudoephedrine, like Sudafed and Vicks, are banned in Japan. Others which are commonly used to treat colds must be accompanied by a prescription in Qatar.

Failing to check and comply with the rules may lead to imprisonment in countries such as Greece and the UAE, the FCDO warns.

GP checks

Anyone travelling this summer should remember to visit their GP at least four to six weeks before jetting off to confirm whether their prescribed medication is allowed in the country they're travelling to, particularly in the cases of codeine, Diezepam and Tramadol.

Travellers can also check the Foreign Office's website travel advice pages for extra information and lists of medications banned in different countries.

The FCDO has issued a list of tips for taking over-the-counter and prescribed medicines abroad.

Travellers should carry medicine in its original packaging as issued by the pharmacist and keep it in their hand luggage. They should also carry an official letter-headed note from the prescribing physician for controlled drugs and injection medications.

Holidayers should also take out the appropriate health insurance for the duration of their trip, including repatriation and the appropriate cover for any pre-existing illnesses they may have, says the FCDO.

You can find the best travel insurance for your pre-existing condition with World-First, to ensure you're safely covered for your trip.