Today’s issue of WorkCompRecap features the California Workers’ Compensation Institute’s release of the third and final report in its research series on low-volume/high-cost drugs used to treat injured workers in the state.
The report highlights three Musculoskeletal Drugs and three Ulcer Drugs that represent a small share of the prescriptions in their drug groups, but due to high average payments, have become cost drivers, consuming a disproportionate share of the total drug spend for their groups. The report notes that Musculoskeletal Drugs were the sixth most prevalent drug category in 2021, with 5.9% of prescriptions, but because low-cost drugs dominate the category, it accounted for just 3.7% of the total drug spend. Ulcer Drugs, which were the seventh most common drug category, accounted for 5.4% of scripts, but 6.5% of the payments, even though nearly half of the prescriptions were for low-cost omezprazole (Prilosec). Within each group, the study identified three low-volume/high-cost drugs that have had an outsized impact.