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In hospital a few years ago, I met a man who needed to take anticoagulation medicine daily. However, he had some sort of stomach enzyme that prevented him absorbing the medicine. As a result, daily, an hour beforehand he'd announce he was taking his 'first medicine' and drank a glass of white wine (which the doctors had noted would inhibit the enzyme). (excuse my medical terms, I'm relaying second hand).

Anyway, the question is - if he wants to travel to a dry (as in no alcohol) country, like Iran, or Brunei - could he, if he needs the alcohol? Would a doctor's letter be enough?

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    Sounds like an excuse to drink to me. Doubtful if it is real. – Aganju Mar 31 '18 at 3:03
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    @Aganju I watched the doctor prescribe it to him. – Mark Mayo Supports Monica Mar 31 '18 at 4:51
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    @MarkMayo my wife's a doctor and she just said "bollocks". Chances are, he just got a friendly doctor to write him a prescription allowing him a glass of wine a day while he was in hospital - my wife has done similar for patients (but they would need to supply their own alcohol - hospital pharmacies don't carry wine, beer etc but they do carry a few spirits as those are prescribable for conditions such as methanol poisoning). There are better enzyme inhibitors than alcohol available. – Moo Mar 31 '18 at 23:07
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    @MarkMayo note that your question is very similar to that of any other question involving prohibited treatments such as opiate based medications etc and travel to largely the same countries - for a good selection of such drugs, there is no exemption for carrying them and you may be prosecuted and jailed - there is no difference for the outcome in this question. – Moo Mar 31 '18 at 23:09
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    Good luck getting that excuse through Saudi Customs – Burhan Khalid Apr 1 '18 at 2:51
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Whether any country will recognize the user of alcohol for medicinal purposes presumably depends on that country's medical regulators. Dry countries might allow the user of alcohol on a foreign doctor's prescription, or they might require the prescription of a doctor licensed to practice medicine in that country, or the regulator might only approve alternative therapies (for example, to interfere with the enzyme in question) that do not involve alcohol.

2

It will depend on the country. In Brunei for instance, non-Muslims can import twelve cans of beer and 2 bottles of liquor, every 48 hours (when doing a Labuan run for instance). You can only consume the alcohol inside your residence, hotel, etc... You won't be able to buy any in-country.

Other countries can be stricter, and it would prove dangerous to break the law. But in all muslim countries, doctor's orders won't fly, especially a foreign doctor. A person needing alcohol for medical reasons would have as much leverage as a person with a cannabis prescription in Singapore. Zilch.

  • Can you explain what your answer is based on, and give references if possible? Personal experience, educated guess, published laws and guidelines, third-party articles, ...? When an answer just has categorical statements without evidence, it tends to trigger the reaction "Why should we believe you?" I would guess this is the reason for the downvotes you were complaining about. – Nate Eldredge Mar 31 '18 at 21:48
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    I work in the alcohol business, especially with duty-free places like Labuan, covering Asia. So I have extensive esperience with this. But why should you believe me right. – user67108 Apr 1 '18 at 1:39
  • I see. Perhaps you could mention that in your answer? – Nate Eldredge Apr 1 '18 at 2:01
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    I believe that's rather pointless, as it is an unprovable point. Negative people who spend their time downvoting instead of contributing won't be changed by this. This is getting tiring. – user67108 Apr 1 '18 at 2:07
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If the person in question truly needs alcohol as medicine, it would be best to purchase it in a medical container rather than carrying a bottle of whiskey in your luggage. It is best to ask the doctor in your country about how to obtain medicinal alcohol, but I expect it to be packaged similar to ethanol used for scientific research:

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Of course, you'd still have to declare it as a medicine at each border, but I expect the border guards to be more lenient if it appears as something that could actually be used for treatment.

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