There are many in the industry who believe a unified drug pricing policy is just what these markets need Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: All tourists and residents of UAE will now be required to fill in an electronic form to get approval to carry any kind of medication for personal use, said a top Ministry of Health and Prevention official. The Import of Personal Medication service was launched at Gitex 2018.

The service, which is a part of the ministry’s strategy to enhance community health, provides more supervision in the approval of medicines being brought in by passengers through direct and indirect means.

The service is activated via the creation of a profile on the ministry’s website, followed by the uploading of the required documents, which will be reviewed and approved within one working day by the ministry. The medicines will be checked at the country’s entry ports by a ministry inspector with the cooperation of customs.

The form

The form can be downloaded free of charge from the ministry’s website www.mohap.gov.ae.

Approvals for the medication are provided after submitting documents such as doctor’s prescription, confirmation of a passenger’s duration of stay and passport details among other documents.

Dr Ameen Hussain Al Amiri, assistant undersecretary for Licencing and Public Health Policy at the ministry told Gulf News: “In order to carry personal medication, both control and regular medication, it is now mandatory for all passengers entering UAE to get this prior approval from the ministry to carry their prescription-based medication. We are doing this to control drug threats that hinder the economy and public health.”

Dr Al Amiri said that the ministry has created a special law for importing medicines by passengers entering the country. The supervised medicines with a prescription are allowed for one-month entry. Other medicines with a prescription are allowed for three-months entry. Any medicine that does not meet these requirements will be seized at the airport.

Different embassies have been notified about the new UAE health policies, urging them to inform passengers to avoid any suspicious situations at the airport. The passenger should know the law even if the medicine is legal in their country of origin, thereby there will be no excuse for importing medicines without a prescription or categorised as drugs.

Attestation needed

Dr Al Amiri advised passengers to check with their country’s health authorities if the medicines have any narcotic or psychotropic substances. The prescription should be attested by the official authorities according to the accredited assets to avoid any sanction.

Allaying fears of punitive action, Dr Al Amiri said that if any passenger failed to get this prior approval the custom would seize the medication.” There is no punitive action. If it is a small quantity of non-narcotic medication, the authorities will decide if they want to allow. In case of other kinds of control medication it will be seized at the port of entry without prior approval.”

This move is part of the federal health ministry’s strategy to provide innovative, comprehensive and fair health practices comparable to international medical standards added Dr Al Amiri.