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Official speak: "We advise travellers to check the Dubai Customs website that gives a comprehensive list of drugs that are banned in the UAE, and also the permissible quantity of certain drugs," says Indian Ambassador to the UAE, T.P. Seetharam Image Credit:

Abu Dhabi: The Indian envoy to the UAE has warned his countrymen against bringing prohibited medicines to the UAE.

“This point cannot be reiterated enough. Indians who travel to the UAE should carefully check the do’s and don’ts we have listed on the embassy’s website while carrying medicines,” T.P. Seetharam, Indian ambassador, told XPRESS.

“We keep talking about the issue time and again. But people are still landing on the wrong side of the law by bringing banned medicines or carrying parcels given by strangers,” added the envoy.

He was referring to the recent arrest and release of K.J. Shiju, 29, who was caught with nine small stamps of pschedelic drug lysergic acid diethylamide or (LSD), at Abu Dhabi International Airport in June.

Six in jail

According to an embassy official, six Indians are serving jail terms in the UAE for carrying banned drugs. For instance tramadol is a banned medicine in the UAE, but widely prescribed in India and other countries.

Most Indian expatriates prefer to buy medicines in India and bring them to the UAE as they find it cheaper back home.

But according to the ambassador, many of them end up in jail due to ignorance.

The nine-point guideline listed on the embassy’s website on carrying medicines to the UAE urges Indians to ensure the medicines they carry do not contain a banned or restricted substance.

“We advise travellers to check the Dubai Customs website that gives a comprehensive list of drugs that are banned in the UAE, and also the permissible quantity of certain drugs that can be brought into the country,” said Seetharam.

If for medical or emergency reasons one needs to carry any medicine, one must have a prescription from a UAE licensed doctor. If treatment was undertaken outside the UAE, one must carry a doctor’s prescription as well as a detailed medical report, both of which should be suitably attested, says one of the guidelines.

Residents and non-resident patients can bring in a maximum of a three-month supply of prescription medicine for personal use.

Psychotropic medicines can be brought in by residents in a quantity sufficient for one month’s consumption.

However, residents can bring a maximum of three months’ supply if the medicine is not available in the UAE provided that they obtain the prior approval of the Drug Control Department.