Check local laws before you take medications abroad. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs that are widely available at home are often subject to different regulations around the world. Packing everyday drugs such as sleeping pills, painkillers or even cough medicine could land unsuspecting tourists in a foreign prison due to local laws on medication.
- Japan bans medication containing pseudoephedrine, an ingredient found in Sudafed and Vicks. That means these cold medicines are outlawed in the country.
- Singapore requires a license for sleeping pills, anti-anxiety tablets and strong pain killers of all kinds.
- Indonesia has made illegal many prescription medicines such as codeine, sleeping pills and treatments for ADHD.
- Qatar has declared over-the-counter medicines such as cold and cough remedies to be controlled substances and requires an accompanying prescription for them.
- China requires tourists to always carry a doctor’s note with any personal medicine when visiting.
- Costa Rica allows tourists to bring only enough medication for the length of their stay along with a doctor’s note to confirm it is the right amount.
- Greece and the UAE are among the many countries that fine or imprison visitors who fail to comply with their laws on strong painkillers such as Tramadol, codeine and Diazepam. These are controlled drugs in several countries. Tourists should check the laws before they visit.