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Answers to tax receipt questions

April 7, 2009

It's tax time, which also means it's time for questions about receipts and medical expense claims. Here are answers to our two most common questions. 


It's tax time, which also means it's time for questions about receipts and medical expense claims. Here are answers to our two most common questions.

What can be claimed?

According to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), drug costs can be claimed only if prescribed by a medical practitioner and recorded by a pharmacist. Over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements, even if prescribed by a medical practitioner, cannot be claimed.

It is still appropriate to provide a receipt for unprescribed medications; however, the receipt should not be labeled as an official receipt for tax purposes.

For more information, see the CRA website.

To whom can you issue a receipt?

The Health Information Act provides guidance for pharmacists when issuing receipts. Prescription receipts for income tax purposes contain individually identifying diagnostic, treatment and care information (DIN) and registration information. The Act permits disclosure of individually identifying health information beyond the controlled arena to:

  • The individual who is the subject of the information (Section 33);
  • The authorized representative of the individual (Sections 33 and 104); and
  • Third parties with the individual’s consent.

This consent must be provided in writing or electronically and must include:

  1. an authorization for the custodian to disclose the health information specified in the consent,
  2. the purpose for which the health information may be disclosed,
  3. the identity of the person to whom the health information may be disclosed,
  4. an acknowledgment that the individual providing the consent has been made aware of the reasons why the health information is needed and the risks and benefits to the individual of consenting or refusing to consent,
  5. the date the consent is effective and the date, if any, on which the consent expires, and
  6. a statement that the consent may be revoked at any time by the individual providing it.

If all of the disclosures are to the individual or their authorized representative, a disclosure notation (Section 41) and notice to recipient (Section 42) is not required. If a disclosure is done with the individual’s consent, a notice to recipient (Section 42) would be required.

  • Health Information Act
  • Pharmacist’s Guide to Applying the Health Information Act

Originally published in the April 7, 2009, issue of The Link

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