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29 November 2023

NRI Alert: Check medicines you bring into UAE

By VM Sathish

Expatriate residents and tourists visiting the UAE are urged to be more vigilant about medicines they carry from their home countries.

Hamid Mohammed Al Rashid, Corporal Officer and Head of Drug Combat, Dubai Police, said some medicines may contain substances that are banned in the UAE, which may lead to the arrest of those carrying them.

According to the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, TP Seetharam, there are six Indians serving jail terms in the country at present for bringing medicines for personal use that contained banned substances.

For instance, tramadol is banned in the UAE. But it could be prescribed by doctors from other countries. And carrying the medicine to the Emirates is criminal offence.

Most people who end up facing legal hassles are those who carry ‘banned’ medicines due to ignorance. They bring them from their home countries because the medicines are cheaper there.

More awareness need to be created among the expats about the issue, opined the ambassador.

After visiting Indian prisoners in Abu Dhabi Jails recently, Seetharam appealed to authorities to create more awareness among expats about banned medicines. “When I visited the jails in Abu Dhabi, I came across six prisoners who were serving terms for carrying medicines prescribed by doctors in India. They did not know that carrying such medicines while travelling to the UAE was a crime. Indian community should be aware of the rule,” the ambassador said during a public programme in Dubai recently.

Dubai Customs regularly updates the list of medicines banned in the UAE, said Al Rashid. People visiting the UAE must check the Dubai Customs website or www.dubai.ae for banned medicines.

People carrying medicines prescribed by the doctors in their home countries should not only carry the doctor’s prescription, but also ensure that the quantity of tablets justify normal use during their scheduled duration of stay. They are also advised to get a certificate from the respective embassies. Al Rashid said, recently a lady passenger who was visiting the UAE for three days was carrying 60 ‘banned’ tablets and she could not answer the question as to why she carried so many.

For bringing bulk quantity of medicines (containing banned substances) to the UAE, prior permission from the Ministry of Health is needed.

Al Rashid was addressing the Indian media fraternity briefing them about the health awareness walkathon over the weekend.

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