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Meal Replacements (prescribed by RPN) - medical expense?

If a meal replacement was prescribed by an RPN (Registered Practical Nurse) does this make the prescription an eligible medical expense?


Can you buy the meal replacement over the counter? If so, CRA would argue it is not deductible.

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You can buy an air conditioner over the counter but it’s an eligible medical expense if prescribed.

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If it is prescribed and a pharmacist fills the prescription, it is deductible. But this costs more than getting it over the counter which is a medical deduction.

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I’m not sure if that’s the case, @john4, because I had CRA deny prescribed Vitamin B12 and Tylenol pills. The Income Tax Folio S1-F1-C1, in paragraphs 123 & 124, discusses the policy with respect to drugs. I think the problem with a meal replacement is that it is not manufactured “for use in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease, disorder or abnormal physical state”. It is often the last resort for many people but CRA’s policy hasn’t moved that far ahead yet. It will likely take someone going to Tax Court over the issue to have it recognized as a medical expense in certain cases.

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Also be careful with annual printouts from pharmacies with taxpayers in Long Term Care or Retirement homes. They, as a general rule, do not strip off the cost of prescribed vitamin pills and as a result their PATIENT PAYS totals are overstated and if claimed are subtracted out by CRA in an assessment.


Sorry @john4, for “drugs, medicaments or other preparations or substances (other than those described in paragraph (k))”, S118.2(2)(n)(i)(B) disagrees.

As alcotaxprep says later, those summaries cannot always be relied on, as pharmcists are not familiar with tax rules.

As to “meal replacements”, I havent seen them specifically mentioned as being allowed in S118 nor in Regs, so unless someone can find it there, I would say, the answer is no…

@kevin: your B12 is provided for in para (k) if prescribed (as injectable?) for pernicious anaemia…

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Thank you all for your responses


In Folio S1-F1-C1, I see mention to weight-loss 1.28, however, it pertains to “Fees paid to medical professionals.”