Cambridge, MA – A new FlashReport from the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) recently found that workers’ compensation prescription drug payments per medical claim decreased by 15 percent or more in 25 of 27 study states over a three-year period from the first quarters of 2015 to 2018.
“This study provides a high-level view of changing costs of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation across states,” said John Ruser, president and CEO of WCRI. “It breaks prescription drugs into groups (e.g., opioids, compounds, etc.) so you can see where state workers’ compensation prescribing dollars are being spent and whether spending for those groups of drugs is going up or down.”
The FlashReport, Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2015Q1 to 2018Q1, presents data on payments for prescription drugs paid in workers’ compensation for key therapeutic groups of drugs by quarter. The drug groups include opioids, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), dermatological agents, anticonvulsants, musculoskeletal therapy agents, and compounded drugs. These groups represent the large majority of all payments for prescription drugs in workers’ compensation.
The following are among the study’s findings:
- Once prominent in some states, compounds now account for a very small percentage of prescription payments in most states.
- The payment shares for opioids declined in all 27 study states to varying degrees.
- Dermatological agents have become more prominent in many states. Payment shares increased by more than 10 percentage points in 8 of the study states, led by Pennsylvania with a 23 percentage point increase and Illinois with a 21 percentage point increase.
- Twelve of 27 states experienced modest increases of at least 3 percentage points in payment shares for anticonvulsants.
- The payment shares for musculoskeletal therapy agents and NSAIDs changed little over the study period in many states
The 27 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The authors of this study are Dr. Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, and Dr. John Ruser.
To learn more or purchase a copy: WCRI: Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2015Q1 to 2018Q1