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Medications through the UAE

If you have booked a holiday with Exodus that passes through the UAE en route, as I have, the Trip Notes will give a link to the UAE website to check on approved medications. (Readers will probably be aware of recent cases where travellers have been arrested and imprisoned for carrying over the counter tablets). The website does NOT give any lists, just a telephone number. The person on the other end was unhelpful to say the least. All he could say was that a letter from your GP was neded to carry any medication. He had no information available about over the counter products like aspirin, iboprufen or vitamins. He could not say if this applied to hand luggage, or hold luggage transferred from plane to plane. Therefore, don't expect to be any the wiser for checking in advance.

Hi Steve

I too went to the link and saw that it was just a phone number and looked further into the site at their list of "suspect" mediactions but am none the wiser.  I was not aware of the issue (before I received my trip notes).  Do you know if the travellers who were arrested were on transit or visiting an UAE country?.  I suspect that items in the hold luggage should be ok but personally like to keep malaria medication etc on me.  Not sure what to do for the best......

There's been plenty of publicity. One guy was jailed because they found a trace of marijuana on the sole of his boot-which will make me careful where I tread when travelling! Follow this link and scroll down for the latest FCO advice.


I think it applies to those visiting the countries, but even if in transit, I'd rather be safe than sorry. We're travelling to Nepal next March for a long trek, and would normally be carrying basic medication like aspirin (good for altitude sickness) iboprufen, and maybe some multivitamins. Also, there may or may not be some prescribed drugs. The thought of being banged up in jail when I should be in Nepal is not top of my wish list!

Thanks for the link Steve.   I am also travelling to Nepal - Feb 22nd for me and will have the usual asprin, paracetamol etc along with Malaria cover which my not need a precription anymore for the ones that are recommended for Nepal. In the UAE website click on travel and follow their links to controlled medications-there is a three page excel workbook with controlled medications listed.

Thanks for this Ann-I'll have a browse later on. Which trip are you doing in Nepal? We're on the Annapurna Circuit 6th March and if it's half as good as the Gokyo & Everest trip we did last year it'll be a cracker.

Classic Annapurna-not quite as challanging as your one! 

All the Annapurna treks look good. I had a look at Classic Annapurna as well, but too many things to do and see and not enough time-the wish list is getting bigger, and I'm getting older, so even when being selective I'll never fit it all in! Enjoy!

Staff member

This is a tricky subject with very little clarification available on what should, shouldn’t, can or can’t be carried.

The ‘UK in the UAE’ website states:

Some prescribed and over the counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered to be controlled substances in the UAE. Any such medication is not allowed into the UAE without prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. If a passenger arrives in the UAE without prior approval and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and the person may be subject to prosecution under the laws of the UAE.

The full web link to this advice is:


The following link provides a full list of restricted drugs:


The current appropriate contact details for the UAE Ministry of Health are:

Email: [email protected]

Fax +971 2 631 3742

The main things that seems to be clear are:

If you are carrying prescription medication you should attempt to contact the UAE Ministry of Health pre-departure, and ensure that you carry your original Doctor’s prescription with any medication whilst transiting via the UAE.If you do not need to purchase the medication in the UK, you should purchase in destination. Most UK over the counter medication is readily available in Kathmandu and your leader will be happy to provide advice and guidance on the best location to purchase these.

We will continue to attempt to gain further clarification from the appropriate sources and will update details in our literature and online if we gain clarification.

Also see this thread http://www.exodus.co.uk/forum/post/12892-drugs-and-uae for more related information.

Jim Eite

Senior Product Manager

Have tried emailing [email protected] but had email returned by postmaster as undeliverable.  hope you have better luck!

Staff member

I had no 'bounce back', but have had no reply yet; I have also tried calling but so far to no avail. I am now out of the office for three weeks but one of my colleagues will continue to look into this in my absence. They will of course post replies on this forum, or contact you directly if we receive clarification.

Many apologies for the inconvenience/frustration that this is causing.


Managed to send an e mail eventually after several 'bounce backs' but have so far received no reply to enquiries.  Have printed off a copy of my e mail to carry with me, as well as copy of prescription as I need to carry some medication in my hand luggage - the rest will go in the hold.  Looking forward to the trip on 26th Oct but could have done without this hassle beforehand. Could Exodus staff please sort this out as it must have happened many times and will most certainly happen again.


If you Google UAE + 'Controlled drugs' you get a list of sites,one of which gives a PDF  list of all the controlled drugs.


Hi all,

Please click on the following link to view a list of drugs of restricted and controlled drugs in UAE.


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