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I will soon be traveling to Dublin from India visa London. And I have been asked to carry some homeopathy medicine for a friend. The medicine is from Soukya and have a bill and signed letter from physician stating

" This parcel contains non prescription medicine which comes under natural herbal supplement and are for personal use only"

The prescription/letter and bill contain my friend's name.

Homeopathy medicine are at time sugar pills with some liquid coating. (I haven't opened all of the packets).

Is it fine if I carry these or there can be some issues?

This is my first time traveling to Dublin that too via London so I'm uncertain about this.

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    How well do you know the friend? How sure are you that the pills are really what you are told they are?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 7 at 7:56
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    Thanks everyone for your responses. I have my flight tomorrow and I've decided I'll not be taking these along with me as it's not mine and there's no way for me to find out what the actual ingredients are. Primary reason is the parcel as I was told recently is not my friend's but a friend's friend. So I'm not taking it. Commented Feb 7 at 17:17
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    Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 8 at 5:02
  • If you want to keep everybody happy, replace those pills with tictacs. Whatever your friend's ailment, they will work just as effectively as any homeopathic remedy. And you won't end up spending five years in jail if the pills turn out not to be so homeopathic as you thought.
    – TonyK
    Commented Feb 8 at 22:54

3 Answers 3

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I would advise against taking any objects given to you by someone else for someone else. Homeopathic medicine is readily available in Ireland. The letter signed by a physician sounds fishy, since homeopathy is a pseudoscience, meaning that licensed physicians cannot officially recommend it to their patients and are unlikely to write letters certifying homeopathic medications for international travel (I admit things could be different in India).

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    @Willeke herbal medicine is not the same as homeopathic medicine. Using lemon and honey to fight flu is normal and a doctor would recommend it. Using oscilococcinum is foolish. Commented Feb 7 at 9:22
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    @brhans My understanding is that in some areas of the world (and with some individuals found everywhere) 'homeopathic' is a synonym for 'alternative medicine'. That is, not everyone is aware of the precise definition of homeopathy. I've even picked up a little booklet on this from a homeopathy display that correctly explains homeopathy and then lists arnica cream as a homeopathic remedy.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Feb 7 at 17:53
  • Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Travel Meta, or in Travel Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 7 at 18:59
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    I have left one comment even though it was not highly upvoted because it explains cultural differences which can be important in cases like this.
    – Willeke
    Commented Feb 7 at 19:02
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Be careful!

  • Where did you obtain the sugar pills? Did you get them yourselves from the pharmacy, or were they given to you by someone? If you got them from a pharmacy, did it look like a normal pharmacy or is there any chance that there is something fishy going on? Are they in a usual package (factory-sealed, professional labelling) or does it look unprofessional?
  • How well do you know the friend in Ireland? Is this someone you know and trust personally, or is it a "friend" you know on the internet?

If you're not absolutely 100.00% sure that those pills are what you are told they are, I would strongly recommend not to take them. You risk consequences that are much worse than confiscated property or deportation. You don't want to risk being a foolish accidental drug mule!

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    There's no way someone in this position could be absolutely 100% sure. It may be, however, that if the pills are found to contain e.g. illegal narcotics, but this is contrary to their labeling and they appear not to have been tampered with, that a prosecution for drug smuggling would fail. Or maybe not -- I know nothing about the elements of such crimes in Irish law. But certainly if the pills are not factory sealed, if the "friend" is an acquaintance, or if there are any other red or even yellow flags, the prudent course of action is to refuse to participate.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 7 at 9:48
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    @phoog Sure, possibly the prosecution would fail, but even so, being held in pre-trial custody for several weeks or even just a couple of days only to be released without charge is probably not what OP plans for their Dublin trip (I have no clue how this is handled in Ireland either, and I assume the OP does not want to find out the hard way).
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 7 at 10:52
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    @phoog It would be trivial for a large drug operation to make convincing, untampered packages of what look like legitimate medications. The machines aren't that expensive or hard to obtain. I would not operate on a "looks legit" basis here.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Feb 7 at 13:43
  • "even so, being held in pre-trial custody for several weeks...": Well what I really meant was that there would be a chance of the police not pursuing the matter. But I don't disagree: the prospect of their pursuing it is bad enough no matter how it plays out. Still, it's better to be aware of the possible outcomes and probabilities in making the decision. If it was factory-packed hermetically sealed pills for an actual friend, I would probably go for it in Ireland, but I certainly would not in many other countries, and I wouldn't do it anywhere if the pills were compounded or packaged by hand.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 7 at 15:14
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    @ceejayoz good point. I've carried medicine in the past, but in every case I bought it myself from a pharmacy. Picking up a seemingly legitimate package from an unknown person would indeed be a different matter.
    – phoog
    Commented Feb 7 at 15:17
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Obviously you can carry Homeopathic "medicine" because there's literally nothing in it that does anything, and it isn't medicine.

However just because it's described to you as homeopathic medicine doesn't mean it is actually an empty pill. It's not that uncommon for herbal medicines to be misdescribed as homeopathic, and herbal medicines can be basically anything. Just being "natural" doesn't mean it is legal - e.g. magic mushrooms will happily sprout in the wild and cannabis is just a plant.

And it's generally a very bad idea to carry something that you can't be sure of for someone else. You have no idea what is in those pills and no way of knowing; the paper from the "physician" will carry no weight at all if there is anything in there that you're not allowed to carry.

Also, and perhaps this is me reading to much into your phrasing, but your mention of "all of the packets" suggests that you're being asked to bring a substantial quantity with you. This may open up problems regarding customs and whether you're actually importing in bulk for sale.

Most likely, a pack of pills in your luggage will never get a second glance but that doesn't seem like a risk worth taking. Tell your friend to get his "medicine" from someone in Ireland.

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    @Willeke: The misrepresentation of herbal medicines as homeopathic is what I cover with my second paragraph. Commented Feb 7 at 16:31
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    Following up on that, I remember some years ago where the contents of "traditional Chinese herbal medicines" for skin rashes were properly checked. It turned out that several contained dangerous levels of very-non-herbal steroids! You really don't know what you're getting.
    – Graham
    Commented Feb 7 at 20:06
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    @Willeke: I disagree that it is a false statement. Nor do I particularly care what someone who doesn't read an answer takes from it; it's not possible to stuff everything into a single sentence. Commented Feb 7 at 22:19
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    @JackAidley Could not a product be illegal that is claimed to do something that it doesn't do? Meaning, the pills can't be illegal as they are empty pills, but putting them in a medically looking package including false claims could, in some legislations, make this package including false claims and ineffective content illegal?
    – gerrit
    Commented Feb 8 at 8:53
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    @gerrit: I'm not a lawyer in any country, yet alone all of them, so it could be so. However, most countries only regulate claims made on things that are being sold. Commented Feb 8 at 9:25

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