We all look for space-saving alternatives when it comes to packing and many of us turn to social media sites to pick up the latest travel hacks, but one viral trick may lead you into trouble.
The trick, which involves decanting your medication bottles into smaller containers, has been widely endorsed by TikTok users who suggest putting pills into an empty Tic Tac box because “it’s a lot smaller than the pill bottles”.
Experts are warning that it could create problems – even potentially stopping you from travelling due to the restrictions placed on medications in different countries.
“While the smaller container might marginally take up less space in your luggage, most countries require to you keep your medication in its original packaging when travelling overseas,” said Steve Brownett-Gale, from pharmaceutical packaging firm Origin.
“Airport security may not be able to identify the medication if it is not in its original packaging or if the label is not clear or legible.”
“This lack of identification could raise concerns and they may ask for additional information or documentation, delaying or even preventing you from boarding the flight.”
Well Pharmacy has hundreds of pharmacies across the UK and their deputy superintendent pharmacist, George Sandhu agrees with the aforementioned advice.
“Be aware of restrictions regarding controlled drugs – you may be required to obtain an export licence prior to transporting set quantities (usually three months or more supply) into or out of the UK,” he warned.
Examples of controlled drugs are diazepam, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.
If you’re travelling with these types of drugs, it is advisable to check with the individual embassies or check Government advice on bringing a controlled drug into the country.
George also suggested: “For prescription medicines, a letter from healthcare practitioners may be helpful. Additionally, be aware of airline regulations regarding liquid medication.”
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There are actual dangers from removing medication from its original packaging. Sometimes the packages are designed in a certain way so that the medications remain effective.
Mitesh Desai, Director at Landys Chemist advises, “Medical packaging is designed to protect medication from interacting with elements such as light, heat, moisture, and air, which can degrade the potency of medicine over time.
When you remove your medication’s original packaging, exposure to external elements can reduce the stability of the medication’s formulation and contribute to a potential loss of therapeutic benefits.”
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