a VirtualTourist member from Chicago
I have been advised that when entering Zambia, officials will confiscate any medication, including over-the-counter, unless it is in the original container and there is a pharmacy label. When one travels, it is common to have lot of different medications ranging from Aspirin, Ibuprophen, Pepcid, vitamins, Immodium, etc., etc., plus actual prescription items. We normally put each in a separate small baggie with a label, and dispose of the empty baggies at the last stop. To have to bring original containers would fill a complete carry-on, especially since we buy many over-the-counter items in bulk packaging. Any suggestions?
I would add, to my suggestion in the Dubai Forum, that you'd be better informed it you checked out the rules of each country about bringing in medications on their official website, or contact their embassy or consulate nearest your location.
This way you will know exactly what to do.
What's wrong with buying travel sizes? Putting things into baggies and carrying them around is not necessarily the best practice anyways.
Unfortunately, there are many items not necessarily packaged in travel size, such as multi-vitamins, Citrical, Glucosamine Chondroitin, etc. Carrying around a collection of a dozen or more varying size containers becomes problematic. Traveling to a third world country often entails bringing a variety of medications, some prescription, some OTC, and bringing small amounts for "just in case" is the most convenient. Having to bring what amounts to a "travel medicine cabinet" would fill most of a carry-on at a time when airlines are making it more and more difficult to bring extra luggage items.
Still, - I have to agree, that you follow the rules, or risk loosing them all. Buy those that are available in travel sizes and just bite the bullet on the rest. There really is no choice here.
Not saying that you don't need all of them, but a carry-on full of just medications, sounds like overkill. If you think about it from their point of view, there are very good reasons for not letting a portable pharmacy of unknown drugs into the country. With that much of this stuff, you might be detained and questioned as well. Better to follow the rules. Zambia is a nice country, but their jails leave a lot to be desired.
I entered into Zambia from Namibia then exited into Botswana and had no problems with imigration searching my luggage. It was a very relaxed and informal process. Personally I wouldnt worry about it. I always break my medicines down and re-package into camera film containers (with original instruction label) and no one has ever questioned me over it.
We had no problems bringing medications into Zambia (allergy pills, prescription meds). The one quirk that I remember was the the active ingredient in Benadryl was a banned substance for some reason in Zambia, and some of the websites warned you not to bring Benadryl into Zambia.