Court: Artificial joints taxable S.C. justices rule against Roper St. Francis in prosthetics case

Hospitals must pay sales taxes for orthopedic prosthetic devices, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Hospitals must pay sales taxes on orthopedic prosthetic devices, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

These devices, often used to replace hips and knees, are implanted during surgery.

Roper St. Francis had successfully argued before a lower administrative law court that the prosthetic devices shouldn’t be subject to sales tax because they are “sold by prescription.”

The state Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s ruling. The new decision does not indicate how much money the state stands to generate in new sales tax revenue.

Prices for prosthetic devices vary widely, but cost thousands of dollars apiece.

Roper St. Francis spokesman Andy Lyons said the hospital system has paid sales tax on these devices all along. If the Supreme Court had ruled in its favor, he projected the system would have saved about $1 million a year.

Roper St. Francis has not decided if it will appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court, he said.

“We will be meeting with legal counsel to evaluate our options,” he said.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 843-937-5598.