Aspirin for 60 cents, birth control pills for $1.60 – in holiday countries drugs are often cheaper than at home and can be sold without a prescription. Many travelers use the opportunity to increase their medicine cabinet stocks. However, aside from this possibly being illegal, it can also be quite dangerous.
When it comes to bargain hunting for drugs, Turkey is one of the most popular destinations. I think there is hardly anyone among us who does not bring some remedies home from a quick trip abroad. In Europe, medicines can be expensive and it may not be possible to source many things without a prescription. Travel websites and forums even provide price lists with the most popular drugs from the Turkish region. Aspirin, for example, can be picked up for as little as 60 cents a pack, and birth control pills from 1.60 euros.
Even if the offer seems tempting, buying drugs abroad entails risk, even if some tourists can justify disregarding this. Many well-known doctors have displayed their frustration in the lack of awareness prevailing at times. Some have been dealing with the issue of counterfeit drugs for a long time now, and have warned of not buying drugs on the street whilst abroad.
Office hours: The ingredients from A to Z
The risk of being cheated is relatively high. Often ineffective imitations are offered to unsuspecting tourists. It may sound a little harsh, but it has been said that the easiest way to get pregnant is to buy the pill of the street. Counterfeiting of the important ingredients in Viagra, however, have been rumored to contain the real drug – sometimes in an overdose supply, which could be fatal in extreme cases.
Although purchasing drugs at the pharmacy is far safer, tourists should consider, specifically in non-EU countries, only buying from businesses that are officially approved to sell the goods they are offering. This is due to not everything looking like pharmacy, actually being the real deal.
Similar Name, dangerous mix
In fact, foreign agents are available by prescription in the EU, partly sold without prescription – even including antibiotics. However, this should not lead to relying on self-medication.
Pack medication only for own use
Also for security reasons, tourists are allowed to bring some drugs for travel needs from abroad. This includes medicines for more than three months, which are intended for their own consumption. For men, however, a box of pills in the luggage certainly not a requirement.
Completely prohibited items include agents which are regarded as doping substances or are fake. Morphine containing analgesics covered by the Narcotics Act – anyone who wishes to take them on trips will require a certificate from the doctor. Critical souvenirs are also agents of traditional Chinese medicine, they may contain ingredients of rare plants or animals. Many of these agents may be imported only with papers outlining special conservation reasons, while some others do not.
The penalties for abusing these laws can include monetary fines and even prison. If someone is caught with counterfeit drugs, the forthcoming investigation can be severe. Therefore, it is advised that travelers urgently become informed on customs import conditions . Violations of the law do not necessarily need to be deliberate, as some breaches are quite simply the result of unscrupulous behavior, coupled with ignorance.