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Moore: WCRI Covers Trends in 27 States

  • National

The Workers Compensation Research Institute has released a vast pharmaceutical study that covers trends in 27 states. 

James Moore

James Moore

One of the authors is Dr. Vennela Thumula. I have had the pleasure of speaking with her at length concerning some of the studies at the yearly WCRI conference. 

Pharmacy benefit management remains a hot topic in the workers' comp arena over the last 10 years, with costs spiraling out of control. The opioid epidemic reached far into work comp medical cost considerations. 

From WCRI:

Workers’ compensation prescription drug payments per medical claim decreased by 15% or more in 25 of 27 study states over a three-year period from the first quarters of 2015 to 2018.

That equates to a massive reduction in pharmacy spend from in the three-year period covered by the study. A 15% reduction was tabulated in approximately 93% of the states covered by WCRI.

Findings from WCRI:

  • 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 eight 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 nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs changed little over the study period in many states.

One negative outcome would be the decrease in NSAIDs, which have shown to be just as effective as opioids in pain reduction.  

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.

To learn more about this pharmaceutical study or to purchase a copy, click here.

This blog post is provided by James Moore, AIC, MBA, ChFC, ARM, and is republished with permission from J&L Risk Management Consultants. Visit the full website at www.cutcompcosts.com.

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