Holidaymakers are being urged to check the legality of their medicines in the Countries they are travelling to before heading off this summer or potentially face a fine or prison sentence.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned holidaymakers to check whether their commonly prescribed medicines are “controlled drugs” in other countries as many over-the-counter medicines, such as cold and flue remedies, could be illegal in countries further afield.
In Japan, for example, common medicines like Sudafed and Vicks contain the banned drug pseudoephedrine and in Qatar, some cough and cold remedies must be accompanied by a prescription.
In Indonesia, prescription medicines for ADHD, codeine and sleeping tablets are all illegal.
Whilst in Singapore anti-anxiety pills and certain painkillers require a license.
A survey from the FCO found that one in three people currently research the rules for taking their prescribed medication abroad.
However, only one in five check for over-the-counter medicines.
As holidays to exotic destinations rise in popularity, so do the risks of being caught out by local laws and the FCO is urging travellers to check the FCO’s foreign travel advice prior to travelling.
Julia Longbottom, FCO Consular Director told the Telegraph, “We can see that British people are more likely to research the weather before their holidays than research the local laws and customs.”
“So while you’re online checking out whether or not to pack sunscreen, we’d strongly encourage you to check whether taking medication into a country is okay or not.
“You should also read our travel advice. The FCO can’t give legal advice or get people out of prison, so we are urging those heading off on their summer break to join the 16 million people a year who check our Travel Advice, to ensure they are properly prepared for their trip and avoid any potential trouble.”
The warning comes after Laura Plummer from Hull was jailed in Egypt after carrying tramadol tablets – an illegal substance in Egypt.
Although cleared of drug smuggling she was jailed on Boxing Day for three years.