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HMRC internal manual

VAT Charities

Medicinal products and substances: The Medicines Act

Medical purposes

Section 130(2) of the Medicines Act 1968 defines medical purposes as being:

(a) treating or preventing disease;

(b) diagnosing disease or ascertaining the existence, degree or extent of a physiological condition;

(c) contraception;

(d) inducing anaesthesia;

(e) otherwise preventing or interfering with the normal operation of a physiological function, whether permanently or temporarily, and whether by way of terminating, reducing or postponing, or increasing or accelerating, the operation of that function in any other way.    


Section 130(9) of the Medicines Act 1968 defines “administer” to mean:

“administer to a human being or an animal, whether orally, by injection or by introduction into the body in any other way, or by external application, whether by direct contact with the body or not;”  

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Section 132 of the Medicines Act 1968 defines the terms as follows:

“any reference in this Act to administering a substance or article is a reference to administering it either in its existing state or after it has been dissolved or dispersed in, or diluted or mixed with, some other substance used as a vehicle”