The UAE has a more relaxed policy on prescription drugs than many other countries and most can be bought over the counter, such as antibiotics (though it is best to seek a doctor’s advice before taking antibiotics as over-use can result in a reduction in their ability to cure symptoms).

If you know what you need, it cuts out the hassle of having to see a doctor just to get a prescription. Pharmacists are willing to offer advice, but bear in mind that they don’t know your medical history. Always tell the pharmacist if you have any pre-existing conditions and allergies or are taking other medication, and make sure that you understand the administration instructions in case these aren’t available in English. You might find it frustrating that certain common medications from your home country are not available here (such as Gaviscon for infants and Pepto Bismol). But there are similar products (such as Infacol instead of infant Gaviscon).

There are pharmacies all over the city with some open 24 hours a day, such as Life Pharmacy on Al Wasl Road in Jumeira (04 344 1122). Supermarkets and petrol station convenience stores sell basic medications and first aid equipment.


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