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Medications & Travel

Medications & Travel

Medications & Travel


What you should know if you have Medications and you want to travel?

Travelers who are carrying medicines, for personal use, have most common questions concerning the regulations of carrying medicines across the international borders. Frequently, the headlines in the newspapers talk about individuals that have been prosecuted because they are ignorant of the laws governing the carrying of medicines to the countries that traveling to. These medicines could be allowed to carry freely in their home country.

Regarding the international laws and regulations concerning carrying medicines while traveling, the categories of these medicines, the prohibited medicines during travel and the procedures that must be taken when carrying medicines in case of travel, we had this interview with Dr. Mohammed bin Hamdan al-Rubai, Director General of Pharmaceutical Affairs & Drug Control in the Ministry of Health:-

What are the Medicines that cause problems for the traveler?

It includes two categories: narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances which subject to the international law and affect the central nervous system with a possibility of misuse. Most of the narcotic drugs are related to the opioid analgesics and its derivatives such as the Morphine and Codeine. Usually, these drugs are govern by a strong regulatory system. While for the psychotropic substances, it usually used for curing psychological disorders like anxiety and depression.

On the other hand, some countries may add another medicines to this group, for instance, the drugs that used for neurological diseases such as Epilepsy and Parkinson. Even the sedative antihistamines could be banned substances in some countries.

Thus, the message is to be careful to carry any medicine that has a possibility to affect the central nervous system.  

In this regard, What the International Law Stipulates?

For further information about the international conventions that govern the transfer of drugs across borders, please visit . The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is an independent quasi-judicial body and responsible for international drug control.

The website contains general guidelines for the travelers (the patients) who plan to travel and has narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. The most important guidelines are:-

  • Travelers are allowed to carry quantities of these drugs, for personal use, and usually use for one month only.

  • Travelers should have medical report regarding their medical condition or medical prescriptions prescribed by their doct

The website also contains regulations of different countries of the world concerning dealing with travelers’ drugs. 

What are the conditions and procedures of entering travelers’ drugs intended for personal use to the Sultanate of Oman? 

 First: narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for personal use:-

A- If the drugs, which are needed to enter to the Sultanate, contain any controlled substances and listed in the Act of Narcotics and Psychotropic Control No. 17/99 and its amendments thereto and executive Regulations issued by Ministerial Decree No. 98/2001, the following information should be provided:

1- Attach a detailed and certified medical report from the health institution where the patient treats in. The date of issuance of the medical report should not be more than six months, and should contains the following information:- 

  • Personal Information of the patient

  • Medical diagnosis

  • Scientific name of the medicine and dosage prescribed

  • Treatment plan and its duration. 


Attach a prescription by the name of the patient. Its issuance should not be more than six months, and should include:

  • Scientific name of the medicine, pharmaceutical shape and dosage prescribed -

  • The duration of treatment-

  • Medical institution stamp-

2- A copy of patients' ID or Passport, Place of residency and Contact number.  

B- Approval will be assigned to release the medications that its quantity is enough for one month only for the prescribed medication, even if the accompanying quantities are more than that, and intended for personal use only.

C- In case the released drugs are depleting, the patient should visit a certified and local medical institution and licensed doctor to make sure that he/ she needs to continue on the same drug. If the drug is not registered, similar drugs in effect and registered locally could be used. In case of lack of the required drug

D- If drugs are not in the possession of the patient but with one of his- her relative, a copy of ID card shall be taken. If the drug is with any other person representing him/ her, patient approval must be attached with a copy of ID card.   

E- Non-residents in the Sultanate are subject to the same procedures in A, B & C provided that the quantity of released drug should not exceed one month or duration of patient's stay, whichever is less.  

F- Over needed medicines will be destruct under the supervision of the Department of Drug Control and according to the procedures followed in this regard  

Second: Medicines that does not contain controlled substances for personal use

-If the drugs does not contain controlled substances, a medical report must be attached explaining the type of treatment, provided that the prescribed quantity does not exceed 3 months.

What advices should travelers follow before traveling to any country? 

According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it is recommended to: 

  1. Check the country of destination system and the followed regulations regarding the travelers’ medications.

  2. Be aware that many countries permit to carry only one-month quantity of medication as to meet the patient’s demand, requiring the possession of either a medical report, or a prescription or both. 

  3. Make sure to pack your medications in your carry-on baggage if you are travelling on board, and keep them away from the baggage cargo part so to avoid high temperature and loss.  Remember that customs authorities require the medications to be put in their original containers.

  4. Make sure to carry documents of the medication usage and the prescribing physician information if your medication was in form of syringe (e.g. Insulin).

  5. Make sure to carry the doctor and pharmacist information in case the medication was expired or lost and you need another quantity of it.

  6. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist the possibility of fixing new times of taking the medication according to the time of the destination country.

  7.  Beware of purchasing a nonprescription drug while you are in a foreign country since some of the medications are differ from the one in your country either in quality or in their components.

  8. Store your medication in cold and dry place away from the sunlight if you are heading to hot or humid country. Avoid storing them in any part of the car. Consider that toilets are the worst places ever to store medications because of the resulted heat and humidity.