WCRI FlashReport — Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2015Q1 to 2018Q1

By Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, John Ruser

June 27, 2019 Related Topics: Prescription Drugs and Opioids, Prescription Benchmarks

This FlashReport presents data on payments for prescription drugs paid in workers’ compensation for key therapeutic groups of drugs by quarter. The drug groups, which represent the large majority of all payments for prescription drugs in workers’ compensation, include

  • opioids,
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS),
  • dermatological agents,
  • anticonvulsants,
  • musculoskeletal therapy agents, and
  • compounded drugs.

This study provides a high-level view of changing costs of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation across states. It breaks prescription drugs into groups (e.g., opioids, compounds, etc.) so one can see where state workers’ compensation prescribing dollars are being spent and whether spending for those groups of drugs is increasing or decreasing.

Data are presented for 27 study states over a three-year period from the first quarters of 2015 to 2018, based on prescriptions filled within three years of injury. The 27 states 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.

WCRI FlashReport — Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2015Q1 to 2018Q1. Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, and John Ruser. June 2019. FR-19-01.

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Research Questions:

  • Did workers’ compensation prescription drug payments per medical claim decrease or increase during the study period?
  • Did the prescription payments for the various drug groups increase or decrease?
  • Which drug groups account for higher shares of prescription payments by the end of the study period?

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