Physician Dispensing in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System

By Dongchun Wang, Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu

September 1, 2013 Related Topics: Physician Dispensing, Prescription Drugs and Opioids

In many states across the country where physician dispensing is allowed, policymakers are debating whether doctors should be paid significantly more than pharmacies for dispensing the same drug. 

This study looks at the prevalence and costs of physician dispensing in the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system. It highlights a rapid growth of physician dispensing in Pennsylvania, often much higher prices paid for the same drugs when dispensed by Pennsylvania physicians, and frequent dispensing of some drugs with over-the-counter strength at a price much higher than if the same drug were dispensed at a retail pharmacy.

The data used for this report came from payors in Pennsylvania that represented 41 percent of the claims in the state workers’ compensation system. There were 40,470 claims included that had more than seven days of lost time with injuries arising from October 1, 2007, to September 30, 2011, and prescriptions filled through March 31, 2012.  

Physician Dispensing in the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation System. Dongchun Wang, Te-Chun Liu, and Vennela Thumula. September 2013. WC-13-23.


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