After recently reading the story around Laura Plummer who is currently being held in Egyptian custody for possession of a large quantity of strong painkillers, it has understandably left the British public wondering what medication you can you take overseas.  As a result of Laura’s case, the Foreign Office has now issued a warning to travellers advising the stipulations.


The drug at the centre of the Laura Plummer case is widely prescribed in Britain. But Egypt, in common with many other countries, has strict rules on any drugs containing opioid analgesics, such as Tramadol and codeine.

The Foreign Office says: “Some prescribed and over-the-counter medicines that are available in the UK are considered controlled substances in Egypt and can’t be brought into the country without prior permission from Egypt’s Ministry of Health.

“If you arrive in Egypt without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the country and you may be prosecuted.”

Almost all nations ban the importation of drugs that are regarded by the authorities as being dangerous and having no medical value, such as heroin, marijuana and many synthetic recreational pharmaceuticals.  Middle Eastern countries take a particularly strong interest in what they regard as drug smuggling, and will even check transit passengers and their baggage if they believe it may contain banned substances.

The UAE authorities have imprisoned people for testing positive of medicines such as codeine and the sleeping pill temazepan, and for arriving with poppy seeds from a bread roll they had eaten earlier on the journey.  The list of controlled substances in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and elsewhere in the UAE includes many over-the-counter medicines.

If you have any concerns over the laws of medication to anywhere you may be travelling to in the future, we would advise to check the Foreign Office website.