HMRC internal manual

VAT Health

VATHLT6040 - The zero rate for dispensed drugs: background: what is a prescription?

A prescription is an order or authorisation written to enable a patient to obtain from a pharmacist the drugs, medicines or appliances they require. The NHS requires prescribers and pharmacists to use a particular form for NHS prescriptions. There is no ‘set’ form for a private prescription, but it will need to contain at least:

  • the name and address of the practitioner issuing it;
  • the date;
  • an indication as to whether the practitioner is a doctor, dentist or nurse or other health professional ;
  • the name and address of the patient; and
  • the item(s) to be dispensed.

We do not consider that the writing up of notes on an in -patient’s records constitutes a prescription for the purposes of item 1. Similarly, documents or order forms which do not require a practitioner’s signature are not prescriptions.