If you are blessed enough to perform Hajj, it is advisable to take certain medications with you. These can be medications you take regularly due to illness or bodily discomfort, or medications you plan to take in an emergency.
In order to transport prescription drugs to Saudi Arabia, you must follow certain rules.
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General knowledge of transporting medicines to Saudi Arabia
Carrying non-prescription medications for personal use is not permitted and may be subject to confiscation. To carry medicines for regular consumption, bring one of the following two documents:
- Recent medical report, not older than six months, from your medical provider, which includes your personal information, medical diagnosis, treatment plan, medical recommendations, generic name of prescription medications, dosages and their dosage form.
- A medical prescription not older than six months in your name stating your medical diagnosis, generic name of the prescription drug, dosage and dosage form, instructions for use of the drug and prescribed duration of use, and seal official health care provider.
Also note that you will be personally responsible for transporting your medication, in which case other people will not be able to do it for you. Thus, it is prudent to keep a patient identification document with you.
In all cases, if your medication is being carried by someone else, you must submit a copy of that person’s ID with the authorization request. You must request authorization from your local embassy at least one month before your arrival.
Things to keep in mind about refilling prescriptions
It is important to note that you will only be allowed to carry enough medication for one month or for the duration of your stay, whichever is shorter. After this time, you will need to refill your prescriptions locally at a licensed medical facility.
Once a doctor confirms the need, a medical file will be opened for you at the medical facility to issue a prescription. You can then enjoy your medications once they are delivered by the local pharmacy. You must follow this same procedure each time you need to replenish your stock.
Essential list of medications to take
Now that we know the rules to follow when transporting medicines to Saudi Arabia, here is a list of essential medicines that you should carry on your trip, for obvious reasons:
Antacids, Constipation, and Diarrhea Medications: Sudden changes in your diet can adversely affect your body and lead to stomach issues such as acidity, constipation, or diarrhea. Thus, it is always a good idea to carry medication for these unprecedented ailments.
Respiratory medications: Respiratory infections are common among pilgrims and occur due to people converging and tight crowds of thousands. In addition to trying to maintain optimal hygiene, you may also carry respiratory medications.
Painkillers: The pilgrimage journey tends to be exhausting and tiring as there is a lot of walking involved. This often leads to leg cramps and body aches. Keep painkillers like paracetamol with you to dull the pain.
Dressings: Not a prescription drug per se, but an essential item to carry in your medicine bag. Walking long distances on rough paths puts you at risk of cuts and scrapes. Thus, it is wise to always have bandages on you.
Special medications: If you have a serious medical condition such as chronic illness, diabetes, arthritis or asthma, be sure to bring enough medication to consume throughout the trip. Also, be sure to take sufficient measures for those that require temperature screening.