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UPDATE 2-Savient sees quicker reimbursement for gout drug
November 3, 2011 / 1:26 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 2-Savient sees quicker reimbursement for gout drug

* Q3 shr loss $0.39/shr vs est loss $0.40/shr

* Q3 revenue $2.6 mln vs est $3.2 mln

Nov 3 (Reuters) - Savient Pharmaceuticals said it has been assigned a product-specific billing code for its gout drug Krystexxa that would speed up its Medicare reimbursement process, but expects to see the full benefit of this only in the second quarter of 2012.

The J-code -- J2507 -- assigned by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for Krystexxa is effective Jan. 1, 2012. The permanent J-code is used by payers such as Medicare to classify drugs that can be injected.

“I would just caution everyone not to expect a large group of patients coming in on January 1,” CEO John Johnson said adding it may take between three to six months from the effective date for the J-code to be loaded into the entire payer system.

“While many patients will be brought in, there is the process of going through secondary insurance verification and making sure that the patient is still appropriate for therapy,” Johnson said in a conference call with analysts.

Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid -- generally passed out of the body in the urine -- accumulates in joints and forms crystals, causing swelling and pain

Currently, Krystexxa costs over $60,000 per year and is reimbursed by Medicare, which serves about 40 percent of Krystexxa’s target patient population, under a temporary C-code. The temporary code may result in months of delays in reimbursement.

The permanent code would help for easier Medicare payback to doctors, an incentive for them to prescribe the company’s treatment.

“The J-code should facilitate reimbursement for providers who treat patients suffering from the severe and debilitating disease of refractory chronic gout and who rely on Medicare and Medicaid,” Johnson said.

For the third-quarter the company posted quarterly loss, that was narrower that market estimates by a penny. Quarterly revenue came in at $2.6 million, while analysts were expecting $3.2 million.

The New Jersey-based company’s shares were trading up 2 percent at $3.63 in late morning trade. They had touched a 52-week low of $3.31 earlier in the session on Nasdaq.

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