New York – Taxability of Synvisc

SALT Report 1427 – The New York Department of Taxation issued an Advisory Opinion regarding the taxability of “Synvisc” when used for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Synvisc is an injectable fluid that contains hylan A and hylan B polymers and is made from chicken combs.  Synvisc is used to supplement the synovial fluid in the knee’s joints that break down over time, causing pain and limited mobility.  Currently, patients suffering from osteoarthritis in the knee can receive an injection of Synvisc at their physician’s office.

The Department based their decision on section 1115(a)(3) of NY Tax Law which exempts from sales and use tax:

  • Drugs and medicines intended for use, internally or externally, in the cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of illnesses or diseases in human beings, and
  • Products consumed by humans for the preservation of health, but not including cosmetics or toilet articles notwithstanding the presence of medicinal ingredients therein.
The Department determined that Synvisc supplements the knee’s synovial fluid and improves the function of the knee, thereby maintaining the patient’s mobility. Accordingly, Synvisc is a product used for the preservation of health and exempt from tax.
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