Dubai: Travellers coming in with controlled medicines or even prescribed medicines beyond the quantity required for their personal use can face punitive action, Gulf News has learnt.
The list in the annexures of the guidelines includes sedatives that are found in popular cough syrups available in the Indian subcontinent such as codeine, pseudoephiderine and pholcodine among others, according to guidelines circular issued by the Ministry of Health and Prevention.
Social workers working closely with blue-collar workers say sometimes out of sheer ignorance, people carry cough syrups and painkillers containing these banned substances and have had to face arrest and deportation. Punitive action will be taken against violators depending on the quantity or the banned medicines.
Dr Ameen Husain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Medical Practices and Licences, confirmed issuing the circular. He told Gulf News: “These guidelines along with the list of banned medicines, narcotics and psychotropic medication have been released as a ministerial decree to make sure that we protect our country from such medication and from the people who wilfully bring these substances as travellers to the UAE.”
Dr Al Amiri said most of the travellers falsely claim that they have brought some controlled medication for personal use. “But the quantities they bring in are huge which clearly means they are for sale in the community. We want to protect the expatriate and local population from such abuse and want to make sure no such drugs are brought to the country. The UAE is one of the safest countries and that is why this decree has been issued to ensure that our community remains safe.”
The circular, referencing Pharmacy law No. 4 of 1983 and Narcotics Law No. 14 of 1995, cautions travellers entering the UAE against bringing in controlled or psychotropic medicines and narcotics that may be available easily in the country of origin but might be included in the control list in the UAE.
Travellers to the UAE are advised to consult the detailed list of the banned medicines and drug schedule and seek permission to carry these from the Registration and Drug Control Department of the ministry prior to commencement of the journey.
The circular further states that any personal medicines will be subject to inspection by the ministry’s inspectors and the customs department at the port of entry in the UAE.
In case of controlled medicines for personal use, both travellers to the UAE and those transiting through the country have to carry a valid medical prescription from the country of origin. In case the original prescription is not available, travellers are advised to carry attested prescription. For those terminating their journey in the UAE, an additional authenticated certificate or permit from the relevant health authority is also required. In case of controlled medicines for personal use, the amount of medicines cannot exceed more than 30 days of treatment.
For regular medicines not on the controlled list too, there are specific guidelines. These are called prescription-only medicines (POM) that must be carried with valid medical prescription and for personal consumption only and the amount of medicines permitted in this category must not exceed more than three months of treatment.
Other medicines that are prohibited to be carried by travellers included non-registered or banned medicines, herbal medicines, medicines which were approved earlier and registered but their registration was cancelled later, and medicines that are not authorised to be distributed in the UAE.
For a detailed list of the narcotics, psychotropic and controlled medicines, one can log on to www.moh.gov.ae or contact the Narcotics and Psychotropic Control Section, Registration and Control Department at the Ministry of Health and Prevention on 026117505.
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For the full list: medicines on the narcotics, psychotropic and controlled list