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Hoping someone can help me with the below:
When I open my pdf in AI (exported from Indesign) all colours, gardients etc are correct but when I embed the pdf, I lose the gradients and drop shadows.
Is there something I can do to keep the original gradients and drop shadows without redrawing?
No you can't.
First of all: youare not opening that PDF. You are importing it. Illustrator interprets the contents and converts them to its own objects. That doesn't work with all gradients, because they are treated differently in InDesign and Illustrator.
Illustrator is not a general purpose PDF editor.