New York Exempts Sales of Substance Used to Treat Osteoarthritis in Knees

Monday, February 27th, 2012

 
 
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The New York Department of Taxation and Finance recently issued an advisory opinion explaining that sales of an injectable substance used to treat osteoarthritis in the knee are exempt from tax. N.Y. Advisory Op. of the Commr. of Taxn. and Fin. TSB-A-12(1)S (Feb. 9, 2012). The letter addressed a particular product, Synviscandreg;, which is described as an "elastoviscous high molecular weight fluid containing hylan A and hylan B polymers produced from chicken combs." It is used to relieve the pain associated with osteoarthritis in the knee. A physician injects Synvisc into the knee of a patient suffering from osteoarthritis to supplement the synovial fluid and improve the knee joint's natural shock-absorbing abilities.

New York exempts from sales and use tax (1) drugs and medicines intended for use, internally or externally, in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of illnesses or diseases in human beings, and (2) products consumed by humans for the preservation of health, but not including cosmetics or toilet articles (notwithstanding the presence of medicinal ingredients therein). The advisory opinion explained that Synvisc qualifies for the exemption for products consumed by humans for the preservation of health because it improves the operation of a patient's knee, and thus maintains the patient's mobility.


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