Spring Fling - Save £100 on Selected Italy Trips booked by 25th April. Click here to see Terms & Conditions.

Drugs and the UAE

This is really one for the Exodus staff!

After reading the articles from others on the problems in taking medication through the UAE, I accessed their website and downloaded 47 pages of controlled drugs and am still none the wiser.  How does this affect those of us who are just in transit? Can you carry things in your hold luggaage?  Does it just affect hand luggage?  I am on Classic Annapurna (TNX) leaving 26th October and change flights at Bahrain (UAE).  How are we for carrying the usual paracetamol/Ibubrofen/Immodium/cold cures etc and the malaria tablets we need.

Could Exodus be a bit more specific in the advice they offer on this subject as it seems to be a concern for quite a number of people including myself!

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.

Jim Eite

Senior Product Manager

I see that there is still no clarifcation on which drugs are OK to take in transit through the UAE. As others  have mentioned, you can get no response or clarification from the UAE Embassy. and the Excel downloadable spreadsheet is ambiguous to say the least. Can Exodus provide any detailed guidance?

Does anyone at Exodus have any update or further clarification on this issue?  Am travelling in Feb to Nepal via Bahrain.  As with everyone else no reply from email and list is not too clear



Staff member

Unfortunately we have been unable to gain further clarification from the UAE Government. We have also contacted a number of other organisations and companies, such as tourists’ boards, travel companies and airlines, in an attempt to gain definitive clarification on what can and can't be carried but have been unsuccessful. (Also see this thread http://www.exodus.co.uk/forum/post/12795-medications-through-uae for more information)

At this point in time I cannot foresee anyone being able to provide us with 100% definitive guide on the current regulations, our advice therefore remains as stated above.


Senior Product Manager

The good news for me (and for you Ann) is that our flights to Nepal which were originally via the UAE are now via Bahrain which is NOT part of the UAE. We flew via Bahrain when we went to Nepal in '05 and had no trouble (apart from a 12 hour wait for the connection). Having read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice, there is not the same problem with over the counter drugs as in the UAE. Have a good trip!!!

Thanks Steve-I am ashamed at my ignorance that Bahrian is not in the UAE- I can relax a bit now-have a fab time Ann


Hi all,

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


Chrissy D

Is it correct that the UAE controls do not apply for Bahrain as its not in the UAE. Is it only only on our trip notes for Nepal because we were originally flying to Abu Dhabi?


Hi Chrissy,
Bahrian is not in the UAE, so if your flight is now from Bahrain then there is no problem with over the counter drugs as in the UAE.
Have a fab trip!

Add new comment

Login or register to post comments

My Forum Activity

You have not posted anything in the forum yet.

Please create a topic or reply to a topic to see your forum activity.

Latest Forum Topics

Call us on 020 8772 3936