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Sound advice on medicines from Holiday Which?

No-nonsense guide will avoid any pitfalls abroad


A packet of pills

Holiday Which? has come up with a set of rules you will need to consider if you have to carry essential medicines on holiday.

It follows research which found travellers face a confusing variety of information about restrictions for different countries.

It advises you:

  • Know the regulations: There are rules about what medicines you can take out of the country if you are travelling for longer than 28 days, for instance Valium contains the controlled substance diazepam. Talk to your pharmacist if you are in any doubt.
  • Be aware of security rules at airports: If you are carrying medicines in your hand luggage individual containers must be 100ml or less – prior approval from your airline is needed if you want to take a larger container. You must also carry proof of your prescription, such as a letter from your doctor.
  • Check the restrictions in your destination country: Regulations differ from country to country, but don’t take more medicine than you need for your stay, and keep medicines in original packaging. Extra restrictions are more common for the kinds of medicines which are on the UK’s controlled drugs list.

Japan and Dubai

Visitors to Japan will find Vicks inhalers and Sudafed are banned, while in Dubai you will need a prescription and a doctor’s letter for medicines that contain codeine, such as Migraleve, and certain cold and allergy treatments. See http://tinyurl.com/ynmsbd

Lorna Cowan, editor of Holiday Which?, said: ‘We contacted over 100 countries’ embassies, consulates and high commissions to check on restrictions. The quality of information varied widely and many embassies couldn’t tell us anything at all.

‘We don’t think this is acceptable and if Holiday Which? can’t get any answers, what hope has Joe or Josephine Public.’

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