Genzyme Taking on Medicare

The company disagrees with a change in reimbursement codes.
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Biotechnology company

Genzyme

(GENZ)

plans to challenge Medicare on coding changes that will impact the reimbursement for its Synvisc treatment for arthritis of the knee.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently decided to group all viscosupplementation products -- injections of thick fluids that ease joint pain -- into a single reimbursement code.

Synvisc previously had its own code, and the change would reduce the reimbursement for the Genzyme treatment, effectively discouraging doctors and patients from using it, the company said.

"We believe that a single code for reimbursement unfairly compromises patients, limits physician choice, and imposes an undue financial burden on the Medicare system," said Ann Merrifield, president of Genzyme's biosurgery division.

Genzyme said it will take legal action if necessary.

Shares of Genzyme fell 2.5% to $67 Monday morning.