My relatives are asking to bring medicines from USA to India. They told us NOT to put those medicines in cabin baggage (15lbs). They told us to put those medicines in checked-in baggage (50lbs) and not to tell customs people of airport authority about medicines. Those medicines are prescription medicines.

Q1) Is it legal to bring medicines like these for someone else who is not traveling with you?
Q2) Why are they telling us not to tell customs people of airport authority about medicines?


  • 11
    Never bring anything across a border if you are not sure about its legality. And always tell customs officers, otherwise you can be accused of smuggling.
    – Willeke
    Jan 18, 2021 at 16:14
  • 3
    Your question raises a couple of questions for me centered around why your relatives can't locally source these medicines in India. Is it because they are unavailable there? Cost too much? Need a local prescription?
    – Peter M
    Jan 18, 2021 at 17:05
  • @Willeke Thanks. We are not sure about those medicines. And also don't know legal rules of Dubai where we have a stopover.
    – G_real
    Jan 18, 2021 at 18:47
  • @PeterM We don't know those medicines availability in India. But mostly all medicines are available in India. May be Doctor's prescription from USA or sample medicines previously taken by them in 1st visit can help the Medical Store person in India. Similar ingredients medicines are always options.
    – G_real
    Jan 18, 2021 at 19:07
  • 1
    @Vir My first step would be to talk to a local doctor/pharmacists and see what is available. And if not, what equivalents could be exchanged. Then work through the US based doctor to help verify/extend (don't know the correct phrase) the prescriptions to local doctor/pharmacist.
    – Peter M
    Jan 18, 2021 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


Q1: It is not legal to carry prescription medications for someone else.

Q2: They're asking you to not tell Customs because they know or suspect that Customs will confiscate the medicines.

Being caught with medicines not your own may also result in your being charged with the criminal offenses of smuggling and/or drug possession and/or lying on your Customs Declaration. Any such discovery by Customs will make future entries by you back into India significantly more difficult. None of this would be enjoyable.

All in all...just say no.

  • So it is illegal to carry prescription medications for someone else. And should we always have to tell customs about medicines whether those are for self or someone else?
    – G_real
    Jan 18, 2021 at 19:11
  • 3
    You should tell Customs the truth, and declare in your Customs declaration all the property that you're carrying. If you do not declare the medication and they find it in your possession, it is not going to end well for the medication or for you. Jan 18, 2021 at 19:20

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