Cambridge, MA, Feb. 10, 2021―Today, the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) announced that Dr. Vennela Thumula and Dr. Bogdan Savych will be presenting highlights from WCRI’s latest prescription drugs research on the first day of the Institute’s 37th Annual Issues & Research Conference, which is being held virtually March 23 and 24, 2021.

In this session, Dr. Thumula will present some new findings on off-label prescribing to workers with injuries, particularly of gabapentinoids and topical analgesics, and Dr. Savych will present findings on the effects of opioid-related policies on the use of opioid and non-opioid pain treatments in workers’ compensation.

“The last decade saw tremendous policy attention to opioid abuse and prescribing,” said John Ruser, WCRI’s president and CEO. “Stakeholders at the local, state, and national levels intervened to limit excessive prescribing of opioids. With opioid prescribing decreasing, dermatological drugs and gabapentinoids became a more prominent share of prescription drug payments in many states prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also concerns that the pandemic, which caused treatment delays and increased isolation, may be contributing to an uptick in opioid use.”

The WCRI conference is a leading workers’ compensation forum. The two-day program highlights the Institute’s latest research findings while drawing upon the diverse perspectives of highly respected workers’ compensation experts and policymakers from across the country. This year’s virtual conference will be shorter and feature three sessions per day in the afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

The following are among the topics the conference will address:

  • Economic Impact of COVID-19
  • Future of Work and Worker Safety
  • Health Equity and COVID-19 Vaccinations
  • Physical Therapy Treatment Patterns and Outcomes
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Claims and the Delivery of Medical Care
  • State of the States: Selective Findings

The conference is free for WCRI members, state legislators, and members of the press, and $175 for non-members. To learn more or to register, visit

About WCRI

The Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) is an independent, not-for-profit research organization based in Cambridge, MA. Organized in late 1983, the Institute does not take positions on the issues it researches; rather, it provides information obtained through studies and data collection efforts, which conform to recognized scientific methods. Objectivity is further ensured through rigorous, unbiased peer review procedures. WCRI's diverse membership includes employers; insurers; governmental entities; managed care companies; health care providers; insurance regulators; state labor organizations; and state administrative agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.


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