458-20-187  <<  458-20-18801 >>   458-20-189

WAC 458-20-18801

Agency filings affecting this section

Prescription drugs, prosthetic and orthotic devices, ostomic items, and medically prescribed oxygen.

(1) Definitions. As used in this section:
(a) "Prescription drugs" are medicines, drugs, prescription lenses, or other substances, other than food for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other ailment in humans ordered by (i) the written prescription to a pharmacist by a practitioner authorized by the laws of this state or laws of another jurisdiction to issue prescriptions, or (ii) an oral prescription of such practitioner which is reduced promptly to writing and filled by a duly licensed pharmacist, or (iii) by refilling any such written or oral prescription if such refilling is authorized by the prescriber either in the original prescription or by oral order which is promptly reduced to writing and filled by the pharmacist, or (iv) physicians or optometrists by way of written directions and specifications for the preparation, grinding, and fabrication of lenses intended to aid or correct visual defects or anomalies of humans.
(b) "Prescription" means a formula or recipe or an order written by a medical practitioner for the composition, preparation and use of a healing, curative or diagnostic substance, and also includes written directions and specifications by physicians or optometrists for the preparation, grinding, and fabrication of lenses intended to aid or correct visual defects or anomalies of humans.
(c) "Other substances" means products such as catalytics, hormones, vitamins, and steroids, but the term generally does not include devices, instruments, equipment, and similar articles. However, "other substances" does include the needles, tubing, and the bag which are part of an intravenous set for delivery of prescription drugs. It also includes infusion pumps and catheters when used to deliver prescription drugs to a specific patient. These items are not conceptually distinct from the prescription drug solution. This same rationale applies to tubing and needles which are used in placing prescribed nutritional products in the patient's system. The stand which holds the intravenous set is not included nor are plain glass slides, plain specimen collection devices, and similar items which are used in the laboratory. This term does include diagnostic substances and reagents, including prepared slides, tubes and collection specimens devices which contain diagnostic substances and reagents at the time of purchase by a laboratory.
(d) "Medical practitioner" means a person within the scope of RCW 18.64.011(9) who is authorized to prescribe drugs, but excluding veterinarians, and for the purposes of this rule includes also persons licensed by chapter 18.53 RCW to issue prescriptions for lenses.
(e) "Licensed dispensary" means a drug store, pharmacy, or dispensary licensed by chapter 18.64 RCW or a dispensing optician licensed by chapter 18.34 RCW.
(f) "Prosthetic devices" are artificial substitutes which generally replace missing parts of the human body, such as a limb, bone, joint, eye, tooth, or other organ or part thereof, and materials which become ingredients or components of prostheses.
(g) "Orthotic devices" are apparatus designed to activate or supplement a weakened or atrophied limb or function. They include braces, collars, casts, splints, and other similar apparatus as well as parts thereof. Orthotic devices do not include durable medical equipment such as wheelchairs, crutches, walkers, and canes nor consumable supplies such as embolism stockings, arch pads, belts, supports, bandages, and the like, whether prescribed or not.
(h) "Ostomic items" are medical supplies used by colostomy, ileostomy, and urostomy patients. These include bags, tapes, tubes, adhesives, deodorants, soaps, jellies, creams, germicides, and sundry related supplies.
(i) "Medically prescribed oxygen" means oxygen prescribed for the use in the treatment of a medical condition. For periods after July 27, 1991, this term shall include, but is not limited to, the sale or rental of oxygen concentrator systems, oxygen enricher systems, liquid oxygen systems, and gaseous, bottled oxygen systems for use by an individual under a prescription. (See RCW 82.08.0283.)
(j) "Legend drugs" are those drugs which may not be legally dispensed without a prescription. These drugs are listed in the official United States pharmacopeia or similar source. (See RCW 69.41.010(8).) WAC 246-865-010(5) requires legend drugs to have a label stating that federal law prohibits dispensing without a prescription. Also refer to RCW 69.41.010(9).
(k) "Nutrition products" are prescribed dietary substances formulated to provide balanced nutrition as a sole source of nourishment.
(2) Business and occupation tax. The business and occupation tax applies to the gross proceeds from sales of drugs, medicines, prescription lenses, or other substances used for diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other ailments in humans. Sales of these items to persons for resale are taxable under the wholesaling classification. Sales to consumers are taxable under the retailing classification. Persons who provide medical services to patients are taxable under the service and other business activities classification on the gross charge to the patient, notwithstanding that some prescription drugs may be separately charged to the patient. Persons who provide medical services should refer to WAC 458-20-151 and 458-20-168 for additional tax reporting information.
(3) Deductions. The following may be deducted from gross proceeds for computing business and occupation tax:
(a) Sales of prescription drugs and other medical and healing supplies furnished as an integral part of services rendered by a publicly operated or nonprofit hospital, nonprofit kidney dialysis facility, nursing home, or home for unwed mothers operated as a religious or charitable organization which meets all the conditions for exemption for services generally under RCW 82.04.4288 or 82.04.4289 (see WAC 458-20-168).
(4) Retail sales tax. The retail sales tax applies upon all retail sales of tangible personal property unless expressly exempted by law.
(5) Exemptions. The following exemptions apply from the retail sales tax and use tax.
(a) Legend drugs are exempt from retail sales tax or use tax when sold for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other ailments of humans. This exemption applies to all levels of sales and distribution of legend drugs, including legend drugs given away as samples. Legend drugs are exempt from sales tax when sold to hospitals, doctors, dentists, or any other medical practitioner, as well as to patients. Sellers of legend drugs are not required to retain a resale certificate or other exemption documentation from the legend drug purchaser. The exemption applies at the time of purchase even if the hospital or medical practitioner who makes such purchases will not resell the legend drug as a separate line item charge to its patient.
(b) The retail sales tax does not apply to sales of nonlegend drugs, nutrition products including dietary supplements or dietary adjuncts, medicines, prescription lenses, or other substances, but only when
(i) Dispensed by a licensed dispensary
(ii) Pursuant to a written prescription
(iii) Issued by a medical practitioner
(iv) For diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease or other ailment in humans. (See RCW 82.08.0281.)
(c) Laboratory reagents and other diagnostic substances are exempt from retail sales tax when used as part of a test prescribed to diagnose disease in humans. These items include, among others, reagents, calibrators, chemicals, gases, vacutainers with heparin or other chemicals or medicines, and prepared media. Control reagents are exempt, but only when the control reagents are used in performing tests prescribed for a patient. Reagents which are used to merely calibrate equipment and are not related to a test prescribed for a specific patient are not exempt.
(d) The retail sales tax exemption applies also to intravenous sets, including the needles and tubing, when used for the administration of drugs prescribed to a patient. This also includes catheters, infusion pumps, syringes, and similar items when used for the delivery of prescription drugs. Medical gas delivery system components, including tubes, nebulizers, ventilators, masks, cannulae and similar items, are not conceptually distinct from the prescribed gases they deliver and are exempt from retail sales or use tax. The medical delivery system includes airway devices (tubes) which are prescribed to keep a patient's airways open and to deliver medical gases.
(e) The retail sales tax does not apply to sales of prosthetic devices, orthotic devices prescribed by physicians, osteopaths, or chiropractors, nor to sales of ostomic items. (See RCW 82.08.0283.) Sutures, pacemakers, hearing aids, and kidney dialysis machines are examples of prosthetic devices. Drainage devices which are particularly prescribed for use on or in a specific patient are exempt from sales or use taxes as prostheses because they either replace missing body parts or assist dysfunctional ones, either on a temporary or permanent basis. A prosthetic device can include a device that is implanted for cosmetic reasons. Hearing aids are also exempt when dispensed or fitted by a person licensed under chapter 18.35 RCW. A heart-lung machine used by a hospital in its surgical department is not an exempt prosthetic device.
(f) The sale of medically prescribed oxygen is not subject to retail sales or use tax when sold to an individual having a prescription issued by a person licensed under chapter 18.57 or 18.71 RCW for use in the medical treatment of that individual.
(g) The retail sales tax does not apply to the purchase of anesthesia gases, medical gases, contrast media, or irrigation solutions when these items are used under a physician's order as part of a medical treatment for a specific patient.
(6) Proof of exemption. Persons selling legend drugs need only to substantiate that the drugs meet the definition of legend drugs and are for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, prevention of disease or other ailments in humans. Resale certificates or other exemption certificates are not required for these sales. For sales to consumers of nonlegend drugs, sellers must retain in their files the written prescription bearing the signature of the medical practitioner who issued the prescription and the name of the patient for whom prescribed. See also WAC 458-20-150 Optometrists, ophthalmologists, and oculists; 458-20-151 Dentists, dental laboratories and physicians; and 458-20-168 Hospitals.
(a) Hospitals and physicians who purchase drugs for use in providing medical services to patients may purchase the drugs without payment of retail sales tax if the drugs will only be dispensed under a physician's order. It is not required that the hospital or physician make a specific charge to the patient for drugs dispensed under a physician's order for the drug purchase to be exempt from retail sales or use tax. This also includes the purchases of intravenous sets, catheters, infusion pumps, syringes, and similar items which will be used for delivery of prescription drugs. The hospital or physician may give the nonlegend drug supplier an exemption certificate. The certificate should be retained by the seller for a period of five years after the last sale covered by the certificate. Certificates should not be sent to the department of revenue. The certificate should be in the following form:
Prescription drug exemption certificate
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(name of purchaser)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(address of purchaser)
I hereby certify: That I am a registered Washington taxpayer. I may legally prescribe or dispense drugs or other substances. I further certify that the drugs and other substances listed below purchased from . . . . . . . . . (name of vendor) will be prescribed and used for the treatment of illness or ailments of human beings. I shall maintain invoices and prescriptions or such other records as are necessary to account for the disposition of the drugs or other substances for which I have not paid retail sales tax. In the event that any such drug or substance is used without a prescription being issued, it is understood that I am required to report and pay use tax measured by its purchase price. If I have indicated that this is a blanket certificate, this certificate shall be considered part of each order which I may hereafter give to you, unless otherwise specified, and shall be valid for a period of four years or until revoked by me in writing. Description of drugs and other substances to be purchased:
. . . . 
. . . . 
. . . . 
Dated: . . . .
Single Purchase . . . . . . Blanket Certificate . . . .
(indicate by check mark if certificate is for a single purchase or continuing purchases)
. . . . 
(signature of purchaser or authorized agent)
. . . . 
(Revenue registration number of buyer)
(b) A blanket exemption certificate may be given if there will be continuing purchases from a particular supplier. Blanket exemption certificates should be renewed at intervals not to exceed four years. The purchaser should indicate by an appropriate check mark on the certificate whether the certificate is being used for a single purchase or will be for continuing purchases. It is unnecessary to list each and every drug on the exemption certificate if all drugs purchased from a particular supplier are exempt.
(7) Use tax. The use tax does not apply to the use of articles and products which are exempt from sales tax as specified herein. (See RCW 82.12.0277.) This includes legend drugs which are given away as samples.
(8) Examples. The following examples identify a number of facts and then state a conclusion. These examples should be used only as a general guide. The tax status of each situation must be determined after a review of all of the facts and circumstances.
(a) ABC Hospital purchases both legend and nonlegend drugs. These drugs are held in inventory and dispensed to patients only under the written order of the patient's physician. These drugs are not billed specifically to the patient, but the cost is recovered through a general floor charge to the patient. ABC Hospital may purchase these drugs without payment of sales or use tax.
(b) ABC Hospital purchases reagents for use in its laboratory which are nonlegend drugs. Laboratory reagents are chemical compounds used to promote reactions in the laboratory to aid in determining disease pathology and are not administered directly to the patient. These reagents are used for three purposes consisting of tests on the tissue from a specific patient, a control reagent which is not applied to the tissue from the patient but is used to measure or control the reaction, and a reagent used to calibrate equipment. The reagents used for the first two purposes may be purchased without payment of sales or use tax. The reagents for the calibration of equipment are also exempt if the equipment is calibrated as part of tests for a specific patient. Reagents used to calibrate equipment that is not part of a prescribed test for a patient are taxable.
(c) XY Blood Bank purchases reagents which are nonlegend drugs. These reagents are used in determining the blood type and presence of disease. The blood is sold to local hospitals. The purchase of these reagents is taxable since they are not used to provide treatment for a specific patient.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 82.32.300. WSR 92-05-065, § 458-20-18801, filed 2/18/92, effective 3/20/92; WSR 87-05-042 (Order 87-1), § 458-20-18801, filed 2/18/87; WSR 83-07-032 (Order ET 83-15), § 458-20-18801, filed 3/15/83. Statutory Authority: RCW 82.01.060(2) and 82.32.300. WSR 78-07-045 (Order ET 78-4), § 458-20-18801 (Rule 188), filed 6/27/78; Order 74-2, § 458-20-188 (codified as WAC 458-20-18801), filed 6/24/74.]