Carrying Medicines to Qatar: Important Things To Know (2023)

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. I can’t find anything definitive on shipping over the counter vitamin supplements to an APO address in Qatar. Are there restrictions for that?

  2. Hi,
    I’m travelling to Thailand in July from Edinburgh and we are transiting through Doha.
    I am prescribed Gabapentin and Oxycodone and despite trying numerous times to call the embassy and medical department I don’t seem to be getting anywhere. I will have the medication in my hand luggage and also have a doctors letter and prescription for this medication as well as a permit to enter Thailand with these medications. Do I need to apply for a permit to transit through Doha? I will not be leaving the airport as our stop over is only 3 hours on the way to Thailand and 2 hours on our way back to Edinburgh. If I need to apply for a permit could you help by letting me know how I do this and who I need to contact.
    Many thanks in advance for your help

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Natalie, Usually medicines in hand won’t be an issue for transit passengers. You will be checked only if you are leaving the airport.

  3. Hi, wondering if you could help with my issue. I have a 2 night stopover in Doha coming up and see that a prescription anti anxiety medication (Diazepam)I have with me is on the list. I just want to check on the documentation required. Looking at various sites, there are frequent references to bringing a “prescription”.

    Since Covid in NZ, my doctor now prescribes repeat medication online direct to the pharmacist so you don’t get a prescription scribbled by your doctor as such.

    If you request a copy of the prescription, the pharmacist will give you a printed list of the medicines dispensed with your doctor’s and your details, date etc on a printed letterhead with pharmacy details. This called Prescription Receipt and Informationand I have this with me.

    Will this be adequate information to take my prescription medicine into Qatar (along with the medication in original packaging?).

    Thanks for any advice, I’ve emailed various organisations in Qatar but no useful responses

    Thanks, Jane

  4. Hi just wondering if I can take to bottle 10 mg of melatonin on me on my layover in Doha please? And also diphenhydramine HCI 25 mg? Thanks

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Renee, Medicine for personal use during layover is normally accepted. Just make sure you carry minimum quantity to avoid checking.

  5. I will be flying from South Africa to Korea soon and will be taking a connecting flight in Doha. I will be flying with about 7 capsules of Concerta which contains Methylphenidate. Will that be a problem?

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Des, 7 capsules should be alright. Usually they don’t check the contents of medicine if it is in such small quantity. Moreover you are a transit passenger.

  6. Hi, We will be having a two night stop over in Doha when we return from India to Denmark. My son has recently been prescribed a 3 month trial of Atomoxetine for his ADD. I am unsure if this is on the prohibited list. Can we bring this medication with us if we are carrying a medical certificate? And if so, can we bring the entire 3 months medication with us?
    Thanks in advance

  7. Hi. I am travelling to Thailand through Doha with 10 hour transit. I plan to leave the airport to kill time and check the city out, yet I am afraid of causing problems due to my medicines. I take two depression and anxiety medicines: bupropion (prescribed but NOT banned substance) and alprazolam (prescribed but banned substance).
    I have a few questions I can’t seem to find satisfying answers to.
    1. Can I have them both in checked baggage (with my doctor’s prescription) without any problems from authorities? Is it safer and less problematic?
    2. How the doctor’s should look like? Is it just regular prescription I get at an appointment? Or should it have more additional information?
    Thank you so much in advance

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Zuzia, Normally it is not an issue for transit passengers. If you are leaving airport, keep only very few (most urgent ones) in you hand baggage.

  8. Hi I’m travelling to Italy and have a lay over in Doha for 3 hours and have Diazepan in my luggage, not carry on for anxiety will i be okay to take this with me?

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Renee, Transit passengers’ bags are not usually checked for medicines (unless you carry them in a large quantity).

  9. Joseph Hernandez

    Hello. I am traveling to the philippines through doha with psoriasis Injectable medication taltz that needs to be temperature regulated. I have a hotel outside of the airport. Can i take this medication with me into qatar? I have a doctors note and prescription with me. Does this suffice or do I need to have approval? Thank you

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Joseph, Special permission is required only if this is a prohibited medicine. Please check with your doctor if this has any banned substance. You may also check with Qatar Government Helpline on [email protected].

  10. My husband and i will be stopping over in Qatar for 2 days In April, travelling from Australia and then continuing on to UK. My husband takes Lyrica and Amitipyline due to a spinal cord injury. I understand we will need to apply to the Pharmacy & Drug Department at the Ministry of Public Health and attach required documents. I have followed the links to the site but once i am there i have no idea how to send required documentation. I am hoping you may direct me, where to find and how to send through required documentation. We will also be returning and only transiting on our return trip home. Do we need more documentation to transit on the way home. Thanks in advance for your help.

      1. Anthony Breakey

        Good day
        Is this the email address for me to get the Special Permission for the banned medication which I have been prescribed?
        Anthony Breakey

  11. Hello, I will be in Doha for 3 hours while I transfer for my flight to Sydney. I take amphetamines for my ADHD which are prohibited. I won’t need them on the transfer but for when I get to Australia so could put them in my suitcase rather than my hand luggage. As long as I declare them, have the correct packaging and a drs letter including prescription. Will this be ok?

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Bethany, Normally medicines in transit luggage are not opened and checked. You can keep the prescription with you. If you are concerned, you may double-check with your airline.

  12. Hi, I’m visiting Doha in March but take Tramadol for chronic pain. I keep getting conflicting answers whether I can take it with original prescription, can’t take it as it’s prohibited, or can take it if ministry of pharmacology approves. Can anybody advise who I should ask for certainty? I have asked Qatar embassy and they say follow the rules online

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Debra, If it is a prohibited medicine, you will need special permission from the Department of Pharmacology and Drugs Control.

  13. Hi everyone help please entering Doha for 1 week/holiday vacation with anxiety medicine I have a doctors letter and a prescription both signed what else do I need to do thank you

  14. Hi! Where do I send the special permission application? I have tried e-mailing the Department of Drugs and Pharmacology Control in the Supreme Council of Health, but so far I have had no reply (it´s been over a week now). We will be only in transit one way, but leaving the airport on our way home. One of my medications is Codeine. And since it is at the end of our trip and we are there for only 21 hours, will they make me dispose of my remaining medications, if I have more than one day´s use left?? Thank you!

  15. Is injectable testosterone medicine for testosterone replacement therapy i.e. testosterone enanthate along with syringes allowed? I would like to bring it in my hand luggage.

  16. Is a passenger who is in transit only allowed to have a personal use prescription item in their Carry on bags if the items are considered to be banned substances in Qatar? The items that I use legally in Australia for my condition are Diazipam and Panadine Forte (500mg Paracetimol and 30 mg Codine) Thanks in Advance

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Roberto, You can carry medicines for your personal use (in limited quantity) in your hand baggage. Usually, checked-in baggage of transit passengers is not opened and checked for medicines.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Julie, Carrying medicines for personal use is allowed. As you are on a transit flight, your bags won’t be opened and checked (unless you bring in large quantities).

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