Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescri...
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Stevenbirn
Returning Member

Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescription

The doctor prescribed an over the counter lubricant.  Can it be deducted as a medical deduction since the doctor prescribed it?

4 Replies
rjs
Level 15
Level 15

Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescription

No. Except for insulin, you can only deduct the cost of medicines that require a prescription. The doctor writing a prescription for something that does not require a prescription does not make it deductible.

 

Opus 17
Level 15

Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescription

Items that are available without a prescription, but you get a prescription for it, ARE eligible for reimbursement from an HSA or FSA. (publication 969 pages 9, 17 and 19).  I agree that items that don't require a prescription aren't eligible for the tax deduction according to page 16 of publication 502.

 

However, since §223 on HSAs relies on §213(d) for the definition of medical care, and §213 also controls the medical expense tax deduction, I don't see how both statements can be true at the same time and both be in agreement with the tax code. It can't be true that a prescription for an OTC item makes it eligible for HSA or FSA reimbursement but not the deduction.

 

(Separately, there is a provision in §223 that makes menstrual care items eligible for FSA and HSA reimbursement without making them eligible medical care for the tax deduction, so Congress and the IRS know how to split the two concepts when they want to.)

 

Therefore, while I am not a lawyer or IRS agent, I would argue that a prescribed item is eligible for the tax deduction, even if it is also available without a prescription, and particularly if it was prescribed for "diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease".  

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
Anonymous
Not applicable

Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescription

prescriptions for OTC medicines like certain acid reducers qualify as a medical expense only if the prescription is filled through a pharmacy and the drug or whatever at one time was not available OTC but required a prescription. having a script but just pulling it off the shelf doesn't qualify. however, without insurance, the cost thru the pharm could be much higher than the shelf price.    

Opus 17
Level 15

Over the Counter lubricant deductible with prescription


@Anonymous wrote:

prescriptions for OTC medicines like certain acid reducers qualify as a medical expense only if the prescription is filled through a pharmacy and the drug or whatever at one time was not available OTC but required a prescription. having a script but just pulling it off the shelf doesn't qualify. however, without insurance, the cost thru the pharm could be much higher than the shelf price.    


Where are you getting that information from?  It doesn't appear in any IRS publication, document or code that I can find.  Nothing I can find says anything about the medication must be one that used to be prescription only.

 

Publication 969 says specifically "A medicine or drug will be a qualified medical expense for HRA purposes only if the medicine or drug:

  1. Requires a prescription,

  2. Is available without a prescription (an over-the-counter medicine or drug) and you get a prescription for it, or

  3. is insulin."

 

Publication 502 specifically says "Except for insulin, you can't include in medical expenses amounts you pay for a drug that isn't prescribed. A prescribed drug is one that requires a prescription by a doctor for its use by an individual.

Example.

Your doctor recommends that you take aspirin. Because aspirin is a drug that doesn't require a physician's prescription for its use by an individual, you can't include its cost in your medical expenses."

 

This is the basis for @rjs stating that it is not enough to have a prescription, the medication must also require a prescription (not be available without it.)

 

My point is that both §223 and §213 use the same legal definition of a medical expense, so it is not possible for both publication 969 and 502 to be correct.  Since this confusion was created by the IRS itself, I think it is fair to deduct the prescribed medication even if it is also available OTC.

 

Now, I agree if I did not make it clear before, that the taxpayer must not only have a prescription but must fill the prescription at the pharmacy rather than picking up the OTC package in order to qualify, and this might increase the cost.

 

 

*Answers are correct to the best of my ability at the time of posting but do not constitute legal or tax advice.*
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