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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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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