9 States That Don’t Tax Over-the-Counter Medication

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Woman shopping for over-the-counter medication
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It is no secret that the price of health care has surged over the years. However, a few states make it a little easier to take care of yourself without emptying your wallet.

In these states, sales tax does not apply to purchases of at least some over-the-counter medications. Either individual medications are exempt from taxes, or all over-the counter medications receive the tax break.

Here is a selection of states that do not tax over-the-counter medications.


Annapolis, Maryland
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Maryland exempts some medicine and medical equipment from taxes. They include:

  • Medicine: Includes both prescription and over-the-counter drugs
  • Hygiene aids: Includes baby oil, baby powder, sanitary napkins and tampons
  • Disposable medical supplies: Includes many things, from adhesive tape to glucose monitoring strips and dressing supplies
  • Sales of medical supplies by physicians or hospitals: Includes items meant to “cure, mitigate, treat, prevent, or diagnose illness”
  • Itemized physical aids: Includes a list of items specifically itemized in the statute, such as artificial limbs, corrective eyeglasses and wigs
  • Medical equipment for the home of or on the person: Includes everything from bed pans to traction equipment


Minneapolis, Minnesota
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In Minnesota, all drugs for human use are exempt from taxation, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Over-the-counter items qualify as drugs for this purpose if they have a “Drug Facts” panel or list of active ingredients on the packaging.

Other tax-exempt items include:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Food: Includes grocery foods and ingredients with nutritional value, but not vitamins and dietary supplements
  • Other health products: Including diabetic equipment and supplies, baby products, mobility enhancing equipment
  • Prosthetic devices: Including implants, braces, orthopedic shoes, prescription glasses and contact lenses


Homes in Alexandria, Virginia
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In Virginia, nonprescription drugs are exempt from tax if they are purchased “for the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in human beings.”

Some health-related items — including family planning products, vitamins and toilet articles — do not qualify.


San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
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Over-the-counter drugs, first-aid supplies and supplements are exempt from taxes in Texas. To qualify, drugs must have a “Drug Facts” panel on the packaging, or be specifically prescribed even though available over-the-counter.

New Jersey

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New Jersey exempts all drugs for human use from taxes. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications. To qualify, drugs must meet certain criteria outlined on the state government’s website.

The state also exempts many other items related to health from taxation, including:

  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Prosthetic devices
  • Corrective eyewear
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Diabetic supplies and equipment

New York

New York City traffic
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New York does not tax prescription or over-the-counter drugs “intended for internal or external use in people to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent illness or disease.”

Many products not normally considered to be drugs or medicines — from acne preparations to sunscreens, as well as family planning products — also are exempted.


Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida
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Florida exempts medications in a number of categories:

  • Chemical compounds and test kits: Including things such as allergy test kits, blood pressure monitors and thermometers
  • Common household remedies: Ranging from adhesive tape to witch hazel
  • Oral hygiene products: A handful of items, including toothpaste, dental floss and mouthwash
  • Prosthetic and orthopedic appliances: Applies to items dispensed via prescription and certain other items including canes and hearing aids
  • Optical goods: Including prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses

Other products — including those to absorb menstrual flow, incontinence products and items for independent living such as bed rails — also are exempt.


Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania
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In Pennsylvania, you will not pay taxes on prescription and over-the-counter drugs or medical supplies. Prosthetic and therapeutic devices also are exempt.

Many other items are not taxed, including:

  • Acne treatments, lotions and creams
  • Dental floss
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Toothbrushes
  • Vitamins


Vermont couple walking in park in Autumn
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Vermont does not impose tax on purchases of over-the-counter drugs ranging from aspirin to medicated burn remedies. A list of such products can be found on the state government website.

Other health-related exempted items include medical equipment, mobility enhancers, menstrual care products and prosthetics.

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