Medicines on the plane: how to assemble a first aid kit according to the rules

A travel kit is an indispensable thing for every tourist. Pills and drops for all emergencies for self-medication, antiseptics are included in the basic kit for insurance, and with chronic diseases flight and the subsequent stay abroad without medicine is unthinkable.

Before the flight it is important not only to collect all the medicines on the list, but also to do it correctly: to clarify what drugs can be carried on the plane in the luggage and carry-on baggage, to take accompanying documents if necessary.

Customs rules for bringing medications on board

The main rule – it is forbidden to carry narcotic and psychotropic substances. However, not all drugs that are on sale in Russian pharmacies may be taken abroad freely.

The ones at risk at the customs are antibiotics, strong painkillers, sleeping pills and motion sickness pills, liquid medications with high alcohol content. First of all, under the official bans of the majority of countries hit the strong substances in some drugs, such as phenobarbital, chlorphenamine maleate, codeine, pseudoephedrine, chlorphenamine maleate, diazepam.

The permitted amount of medication carried on the plane is quite conditional – for your own use during the trip. As a rule, if the number of medicine packs in your luggage is more than five, customs services may ask questions. To protect yourself from fines on suspicion of small quantities and confiscation, obtain documents confirming the need for medication in these amounts.

All pills and drops and gels carried on board must be in their original packaging (no need to put pills in mini containers for compactness).

Be sure to check the expiration date of the medication. Expired tablets and liquid medications (especially in large quantities – for example, with a supply for a month or more), may be classified as dangerous and prohibited for carriage.

Customs restrictions do not apply to the carriage of medicines on domestic flights, but the norms of transportation of liquid drugs in hand luggage, packaging and shelf life requirements remain.

Forbidden drugs on an airplane: restrictions by country

What medications can you take on the plane
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Customs prohibitions may vary from country to country, and may be more extensive than in Russia. For example, in the UAE it is not allowed to take medications containing codeine. When crossing the borders of the European Union, Canada, drugs containing melatonin are banned.

Corvalol and Valokordin are banned in Lithuania, and nimesulide (active ingredient in the painkiller “Naise”) is not allowed into Germany. Sodium methamisole (analgin) is banned in a number of countries, including the EU, the United States and Asian countries.

Particularly close border inspections of medications in Australia. At the stage of flight planning, you will need to prepare and bring with you prescriptions for absolutely all medicines, including those sold in Russia without restrictions, and medicines in the checked baggage.

The restrictions may apply to drugs that have very little relation to the medication. An example from the Federal Customs Service website: a Russian tourist bought in a pharmacy in China a tea for weight loss was found to contain a strong substance – sibutramine, which is prohibited to be imported into Russia; as a result an administrative case was initiated.

An additional difficulty is that the list of restricted and banned drugs is constantly expanding, and before flying in any case you will have to check the information on the website of the customs of the country of destination (and trans-shipment).

Registered drugs on an airplane

  • You need to bring the following medications to be registered for transportation:
  • An up-to-date prescription (or statement) from a doctor written in the patient’s name, indicating the name of the narcotic (psychotropic) substance indicated for therapeutic use, its dosage – daily rate;
  • A receipt for the purchased and brought medication (confirming the origin of the medication);
  • Preferably an English translation of the prescription (quite sufficient for most destinations).

Passengers with such medicines pass through the red corridor – necessarily fill in the customs declaration.

Medicines in your hand luggage on board

The main rule for taking medication on board: passengers are allowed to take as many medications as they will need for the entire duration of the journey. Please note: medications and dietetic products can be carried on board in containers larger than 100 ml and in excess of the hand luggage allowance (clarify the rules of the particular airline), it is advisable to pack them in a transparent bag with a clasp.

Most drops (nasal, ear) can be safely transported on the plane. Remember the algorithm: read the composition for prohibited substances, take a limited amount of drugs – only for on-board taking, the rest – in the luggage. For taking liquids in larger containers you may need a medical certificate or a prescription confirming that you need the drops before boarding (e.g. if you are undergoing a treatment course and take the drops at a certain time).

If you suffer from a chronic illness, ask your doctor before departure about the regimen for taking any medication across several time zones.

When carrying essential medicines, distribute them between your luggage and hand luggage, if possible, for your own protection. Also consider the possibility of and standards of carrying accompanying devices and medical equipment.

It is common practice not to take anti-seasickness medication on the plane, but to take the pill in advance. This is due to the fact that anti-seasickness medications are highly potent (as well as sleeping pills), and some of them may contain substances that must be declared for import.

What medications can you take on the plane
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Medications in your luggage

As the basis of a standard kit of tourists on board usually take a basic “travel” set – the widest variety of simple and safe drugs that may come in handy for a week or two. This cold remedies and antipyretics, remedies for stomach upsets and pancreatic pain, painkillers (without codeine – such as citramone), anti-allergy, healing, iodine or green in a pencil (it is more convenient to take them than hydrogen peroxide). You can take a minimal set if you fly on a baggage-free fare and are not going to spend money on registration of luggage, otherwise it’s better to divide the volume and hand over a part with the things in the suitcase.

Accordingly, the luggage first of all includes all medicines that do not meet the standards of liquids, if you can not confirm their necessity during the flight: these are all sprays and drops taken “in reserve,” liquid antiseptics in containers larger than 100 ml. Don’t forget that you can register your luggage as fragile (for example, if there are other glass containers in addition to medication).

The amount of drugs in the passenger’s luggage should be designed only for the time of stay in the country.

Since luggage will be exposed to temperature fluctuations, you can take dry ice to cool certain types of medicines and a thermal bag. The common limit for refrigerants in luggage is up to 2 kg per passenger.

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