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Vol 24 No 4 April/May 2019

Book of the Month

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Professional Conduct Casebook 3rd ed: Digital Pack

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Tax, Medicines and the Law: From Quackery to Pharmacy

ISBN13: 9781108716994
Published: December 2018
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback (Hardback in 2017)
Price: £22.99
Hardback edition , ISBN13 9781107025455

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In 1783 a stamp duty was imposed on proprietary or 'quack' medicines. These largely useless but often dangerous remedies were immensely popular.

The tax, which lasted till 1941, was imposed to raise revenue. It failed in its incidental regulatory purpose, had a negative effect in that the stamp was perceived as a guarantee of quality, and a positive effect in encouraging disclosure of the formula.

It promoted the pharmacy profession by recognising chemists and druggists as an occupational group and provoking their unity in opposition, but undermined it by reinforcing their trading character. The legislation imposing the tax was complex, ambiguous and never reformed.

The tax authorities had to administer it, and executive practice came to dominate it. A minor, specialised, low-yield tax is shown to be of real significance in the pharmaceutical context, and of exceptional importance as a model revealing the wider impact of tax law and administration.

Medical Law, Legal History, Taxation
1. Proprietary Medicines and the Fiscal State
2. The Medicine Stamp Duty and the Authority of Law
3. The Tax and the Profession of Pharmacy
4. The Tax and the Integrity of Medicines
5. The Demise of the Tax.