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Travelling with Medicines

General Advice

Medicines that are prescribed or can be bought over the counter in the UK, can be restricted or banned in other countries.

  • Some countries such as India, Turkey, Pakistan and United Arab Emirates have strict lists of medications that you are not allowed to bring in.
  • You should always check the rules for entering a country with medicines with the embassy of the country you will be visiting.

If you are planning to travel overseas and need to take medicines with you, you should check if there are any restrictions before you go.

Restrictions may cover:

  • what medicines you can take out of the UK
  • what medicines can be taken in to the country or countries you plan to visit
    • this can include countries you transit through
  • the type and /or amount of medicine that can be taken in to a country

General tips for travelling with medicines

  • Make sure you take enough supplies for the whole of your trip and include extra for unexpected delays, damage or loss.
  • Keep your medicines and equipment in the original packaging with labels and information leaflet.
  • If your medicine needs to be kept cool you can use a thermos flask, cool pack or insulated pouch.
  • Carry your medicine in your hand luggage:
    • suitcases in the hold can become delayed or lost in transit
    • if possible, split your medicines between bags so that if one bag goes missing you will still have some medicines available
  • For prescription medicines, always take a copy of your prescription:
    • check if your prescription will be accepted in English, or if it may need to be translated into the local language for your destination
  • Some medicines and equipment (such as needles and syringes) may need you to carry a letter from a healthcare professional
    • you should contact the embassy of the country you will be visiting or transiting through and your airline to find out their rules
  • If you will be travelling with liquid medicine that is over 100mls, you will need to contact your airline and all airports you will travel through.

Diabetes Medication and Equipment

All of the above information applies if you are travelling with diabetic medication and /or medical equipment. For further information see:

HIV Medication

A small number of countries refuse entry to individuals who are HIV positive.

If you are travelling with HIV medications, you should carry a letter detailing:

  • the contact details of the specialist doctor that you see
  • a list of all the medicines you are travelling with:
    • the letter does not need to state the reason why you are taking the medicine
    • it should detail that taking your medicine is important and should not be interrupted

This letter can be shown if you:

  • are questioned at customs about medicine
  • need to get medical care abroad
  • need to replace lost or damaged medicine

Controlled Medicines

Certain prescribed medicines are called 'controlled drugs', for example strong painkillers or opiate substitutes.  This means there are additional are laws around their use (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

If you are entering or leaving the UK with controlled drugs, there are specific rules that you must follow.  The rules will depend on:

  • the type of controlled drug you are taking
  • the length of your trip
  • the amount of medicine that you need to take with you

Before you travel you should check:

For detailed information see GOV.UK: Bringing medicine containing a controlled drug in to the UK 

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