Washington, DC – Stephen Schneider, Midwest region vice president for the American Insurance Association (AIA), issued the following statement after the recent signing of SB 294 into law by Governor Mike Pence (R-IN). The law now further limits physician dispensing of repackaged drugs to employees who are injured on the job, and retains the current law’s cap on repackaged drug reimbursement enacted last year. AIA has supported similar legislation in other states to curb the cost abuse of physician-dispensed drugs, including opioids, that is costing the nation’s workers’ compensation system hundreds of millions of dollars annually and not delivering any benefit to injured workers.
Only in workers’ compensation and auto PIP programs is physician dispensing a problem because they provide unlimited medical coverage. Recent research has also concluded that the costs of physician dispensing are not just obscenely higher drug costs, but higher medical costs generally and delayed return to work, thus driving up wage loss costs.
Mr. Schneider’s statement follows:
“AIA applauds Governor Mike Pence’s signature of SB 294, legislation that tightens regulations on physician dispensing of repackaged drugs to injured workers.
“The cost-abuse of physician dispensing – of opioids as well as some medications otherwise available over the counter – is by now well-documented in workers’ compensation and continues to be a major cost drain in the nation’s workers’ compensation system.
“SB 294 will benefit both workers hurt on the job and their employers. First, injured workers are helped by limiting the time frame during which these drugs can be dispensed to them without the critical pharmacy oversight necessary to guard against increased reliance and dependence upon the drugs and the absence of other utilization controls otherwise available with pharmacy-dispensed drugs. Second, employers will not have to pay for these drugs for unnecessarily extended time periods, thus reducing their workers’ compensation costs.