Carrying Medicines to Qatar: Important Things To Know (2024)

Doha Guides Team regularly reviews this article to ensure the content is up-to-date and accurate. The last editorial review and update were on 02 February 2024.

Having medicines in your travel bag is second nature to most people, but if you’re not careful, those medicines can land you in jail.

Many prescribed medicines contain substances that are internationally controlled. Travellers need to be aware of potential regulations before carrying medicines to Qatar.

This article explains the procedure you have to follow for carrying medicines to Qatar. Also, we have added a link to the list of medicines banned in Qatar.

Carrying Medicines To Qatar: General Rule of Thumb

The general rule of thumb is that if you are under medication and if you are carrying certain prescribed medicines, you must have a doctor’s prescription in original, and the medicines should be carried along with their original packing and literature so that customs authorities can easily identify them.

Some medicines, which are over-the-counter in other countries, are also considered controlled items in Qatar as they produce effects that contravene local laws.

  • Many common cold and cough remedies, which you might assume to be harmless, must be accompanied by a prescription.
  • Some sleeping tablets, painkillers, anti-depressants and hormone replacement therapy drugs are banned here.
  • Some controlled drugs include alfentanil, amphetamine, codeine, fentanyl, ketamine, methadone, methylphenidate and morphine.

Medicines Containing Drugs or Psychotropic Substances

It is prohibited to carry medicines that contain narcotics or psychotropic substances while arriving in the country. These include medicines like Lyrica, Tramadol, Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), Zolam, Clonazepam, Zolpidem, Codeine, Methadone, Pregabalin. 

A circular from Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health addressed to all embassies contains the procedures and regulations to be followed while carrying medicines containing either drugs or psychotropic substances by patients coming to Qatar or departing from here for their personal use.

Here are the main extracts from the circular:

1. It is prohibited to carry medicines and substances which are banned internationally and locally.

2. It s prohibited to carry medicines mentioned in the list (a) and list (b) of Law (9) issued in the year 1987 regarding anti-drugs and dangerous psychotropic substances. Likewise, the items registered at schedule No. (3) of the same law.

3. To carry such medicines, an application is to be given to the Department of Pharmacology and Drugs Control in the Supreme Council of Health.

Procedure for Special Permission

4. Permission would be granted to carry the medicines by the patients coming to the State of Qatar for their personal use as per the following guidelines :

a) To attach a detailed medical report attested by the hospital treating the patient. The medical report should not be older than six months. The report must contain the following:

  • Personal Details of the patient
  • Medical diagnosis
  • Treatment and duration
  • Medical Prescriptions
  • The scientific name of the medicines, Form and scheduled doses.

b) Or attach the medical prescription in the patient’s name, attested by the same hospital, and the prescription should not be older than six months.

The prescription must have the following:

  • Diagnosis of the disease
  • The scientific name of the medicines, Form and scheduled doses.
  • How to use and duration of treatment
  • Seal of the hospital

c) To pledge that only the patient will use the medicine and will use it on his responsibility.

d) To attach a copy of the ID card of the patient

5. Approval can be granted to carry medicines for a 30-day maximum period or the duration of the stay if the patient is in Qatar, whatever is less, subject to the validity of the medicines.

The patient has to keep in mind the following:

  • If the medicine exhausts, the patient has to contact the specialist physician licensed to practice in a hospital (in Qatar) to check whether he needs to continue the same medicine.
  • If the physician confirms that the patient needs to continue the same treatment, a specific medical file has to be opened in that hospital, and the appropriate medicine would be prescribed through a medical prescription attested by the same hospital. The medicine would be provided by the local pharmacy for the required period. The patient will continue to follow up with the same hospital for continuous treatment if his medical condition warrants so.
  • If the medicine or its alternative is unavailable in the local market, the hospital treating the patient can secure this medicine through one of the drug distributors after obtaining approval from the Department of Pharmacology and Drugs Control in the Supreme Council of Health.

Injection Medicines

6. If the medicine is in the form of an injection, the approval can be obtained under the supervision of any local hospital in the patient’s name. The medicine would be registered in the hospital file meant for personal use as per the procedure followed for such medicines.

7. Excess medicine can be destroyed through the Department of Pharmacology and Drugs Control in the Supreme Council of Health.

While Departing from Qatar

8. Departing patients from Qatar would be treated as par with one coming to Qatar according to the above-mentioned paragraphs No (1), No (2), No (3) and no (4). Quantity of the medicine would be allowed for 30 days only.

9. If the medicine is not carried by the patient but was carried by one of his relatives (like parents, children, brothers or spouse), a copy of his ID would be taken. In case the medicine was carried by the patient’s representative, the patient’s written consent for carrying medicines has to be attached. A copy of his ID would be taken.

Special Procedure for Diplomats

10. If the medicines contain drugs or psychotropic substances are to be carried by the diplomats or government officials (only) coming to the State of Qatar for the patients working with the diplomatic mission. The procedures would be as follows:

a) The Missions has to send an application to the Department of Pharmacology and Drugs Control in the Supreme Council of Health, mentioning the name of the head of the Mission or the name of the custodian of the drugs. If not so, the accompanying physician would be the custodian of the medicine.

The application should be attached to the following:

  1. Details of the desired medicines are certified by the concerned authority in the country of Mission, including the scientific name of the drug and psychotropic substance, form, concentration, size and quantity. Medicines containing drugs and psychotropic substances must be borough through aerial transportation only.
  2. To pledge that the medicine would be used by the members of the Mission/delegation only on their responsibility and it would not be sold or it would not be utilised for any other purpose. To pledge that the excess medicines would be carried back. To pledge to provide details of medicine utilization, reasons for utilization, excess medicine and destroyed ones before departure of the delegation to the Department of Drugs and Pharmacology Control in the Supreme Council of Health,

11. Once the application is approved, permission will be granted to carry the medicine.

Other Notes

The detailed application process as above is only required for medicines containing either drugs or psychotropic substances.

However, only health care professionals can advise you about the contents of a medicine. So please check with your doctor about the contents of your medicine.

Also, make sure not to carry them in large quantities.

Medicines for common conditions such as diabetes, hypertension (High Blood Pressure) etc. are usually allowed for 1-3 months for residents. However, make sure to carry the medical reports, prescriptions and original packing.

List of Banned Medicines in Qatar

Here is an available list of banned medicines in Qatar. Indian Embassy in Qatar has also published another list of medicines prohibited in Qatar. These lists may not be complete, but you can have a rough idea of what kinds of pharmaceutical substances are banned.

For travellers to other GCC countries, the guidelines are almost similar. However, the list of banned medicines may not be the same. Here is the list of banned medicines in the UAE.

FAQ on Banned Medicines in Qatar

Can I carry prescription medicines to Qatar?

If you are carrying any prescribed medicine, you must have a doctor’s prescription in original, and the medicines should be carried along with their original packing and literature.

Can I buy general medicines from Qatar?

General medicines that do not require a doctor’s prescription are freely available at pharmacies and supermarkets in Qatar.

How much general medicine can I carry to Qatar?

Medicines for common conditions such as diabetes, hypertension etc., are usually allowed for 1-3 months for residents. However, make sure to carry the medical reports, prescriptions and original packing.

What all medicines are banned in Qatar?

While travelling to Qatar, it is prohibited to carry medicines containing drugs or psychotropic substances. Please get an official prescription from your doctor.

Related Articles:

  1. Qatar Customs Prohibited Items List
  2. How To Do PCR Tests in Qatar for Travel Purposes
  3. Visiting Qatar: The Complete Guide
  4. Qatar Visa On Arrival for GCC Residents: Professions List
  5. Drinking Alcohol in Qatar: Important Rules To Know
  6. How To Apply for Qatar Tourist Visa Online
  7. How To Get Qatar Transit Visa For Free

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  1. Maral Zivkovich

    Hello, I have a question and I’m getting different answers from Qatar Airlines, and on the internet. I take clonazapan for restless legs and for sleeping issues. I do have a doctor’s note on lettehead explaining this. I have a 3 hour layover. Will Customs take it away? I don’t want to end up in jail. Thank you. I did call Qatar customs and they were no help.
    Thank you.

  2. I will be transiting Doha from the US to the Philippines where I will be staying for eight months. I will not exit the airport at any time. I will be carrying the eight month’s of wegovy medicine with me on the plane when I arrive as its temperature has to be closely monitored. To ensure it remains at the proper temperature bounds, I will be carrying with me on the plane the medication in thermos bags with frozen gel to maintain the appropriate temps. It is impossible to have this medication in my checked luggage. I must carry it with me. It is in an injectable pen like what is used for insulin control. Is this going to be any issue for me?

  3. Christine Hayes

    I am going to Australia from the UK via Doha airport. I will be in the airport for three hours. I have left it too late to get a letter from my doctor for my blood pressure tablets. Will I need one even though |I am just in transit?

  4. Christine Hayes

    I am very worried because I will be travelling to Australia from the UK on Qatar airways and we will have a 3 hour wait in Doha airport before the ongoing flight. I have only just realized I need a letter from my doctor about the blood pressure tablets I take. My doctor may not issue the letter in time. Will I need this letter even though I am just in transit through Doha and won’t leave the airport?

  5. hi, I am travelling to Europe from Australia and going through Doha with Qatar airlines both ways. some of my prescription medications include desvenlafaxine, Mirtazapine, ritalin (methylphenidate) and ketamine troches. Do I need to get approved to bring them? or do I just bring in original packaging and their scripts? anything else?
    it will be enough for 34 days.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Chilli, If you are a transit passenger it should be OK. Keep the medicines in your checked-in baggage and keep prescriptions in hand luggage (if required to show).

  6. Planning a trip from uk to Perth , Western Australia later this year and will be in transit in Doha for 3 hours within the airport. I will be carrying disposable catheters for personal use during my flight. Will there be any problem at security checkpoints when reboarding my ongoing flight? I prefer to carry them as hand luggage in case they are lost in checked in baggage which would be a major medical problem for me. thank you.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Mel, Usually there are restrictions on sharp objects. Please call your airline office and check if there is any alternative.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Faiz, We are not sure if this is a restricted medicine. Kindly check with a medical practitioner regarding the contents of this medicine. Alternatively, you can also check with the Qatar Government Helpline at [email protected]. Even if you are bringing keep the doctor’s prescription and purchase receipt.

  7. Hello, I am travelling to Europe via Doha this year and I am very concerned about bringing my prescription medication through the airport. I have prescriptions for my heart, diabetes and also pain medication containing codeine and also zolpidem. On the way to Europe we will only going through transit but on the way back I believe we are being put up in a hotel.
    Is going through transit only with medication (with the appropriate prescriptions and letter from my doctor) going to cause problems as I will be carrying enough for a couple of months.
    On the way back through Doha the amount of medication will be reduced to a couple of days only but I presume we will have to go through customs with them in my bag so that we can stay at the hotel. I am really concerned.
    Thank you for any information you can provide.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Hella, During your first flight via Doha (transit flight) keep your medicines in the checked-in baggage. Normally checked-in baggage on transit passengers is not opened and checked for medicines. You can also spread them out in different bags so that too much quantity doesn’t seem suspicious.
      During your return flight, you will only have medicine for a couple of days. In most cases, such low quantities won’t be marked for checking. You can also keep your doctor’s prescriptions and original purchase bill with you (for peace of mind). Carrying prescription medicines for a couple of days is usually not a big issue. Legal action will be taken only in cases where it seems like the visitor is trying to smuggle banned medicines into the country.

  8. hello, i have a transit from doha to bangkok soon and i have some questions about my medications, I regulary take ecitalopram, bupropion, Levothyroxine and sometimes Zopiclone, are these legal to bring via transit? thanks in advanced.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Camilla, If you are only in Transit in Doha (not leaving Doha airport), keep the medicines in your checked-in baggage. Usually, checked-in baggage of transit passengers is not opened and checked (for medicines). You can also carry the doctor’s prescriptions for your peace of mind. Also, try to carry essential quantities only and keep them spread out in different bags.

  9. HI,
    I will travelling to the Maldives through Doha (9 hour layover, but not leaving the airport) and then coming back through Doha and staying for a 3 nights before moving on. A family member has multiple medical conditions and requires daily use of several banned medications (lyrica, gabapentin, SSRIs, etc.). We have no issue bringing the original bottles and a doctor’s note, but are there any special permissions required? Any suggestions for making it through customs without issue? Thank you for your thoughts!

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi JB, Usually it won’t be an issue during transit if the medicines are in checked-in baggage. However, this may be checked during your return as you will be staying in Doha. Since they are banned medicines, you may need special permissions. Kindly contact the Qatar Government Helpline at: [email protected] or +974-44069999. In any case, try to keep the medicines minimum quantity and spread them out in different bags.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Bitha, Usually there is no ban on homeopathic medicines. Just make sure you carry the prescription and pharmacy invoice. Also, don’t carry too many medicines in one bag as you will be asked to open the bag.

      1. I will be travelling to Jeddah & will be transiting in Doha for both flights. Can I carry my ventolin inhaler (for my asthma) in my carry-on bag.