WCRI FlashReport — Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2017Q1 to 2020Q1

By Dongchun Wang, Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu

May 25, 2021 Related Topics: Physician Dispensing, Rx Drugs and Opioids

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

  • anticonvulsants,
  • antidepressants,
  • compounds,
  • dermatological agents,
  • musculoskeletal therapy agents,
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and
  • opioids.

This study provides a high-level view of changing costs of prescription drugs in workers’ compensation across 28 states. It breaks prescription drugs into groups (dermatological agents, NSAIDs, opioids, compounds, etc.) so you can see where workers’ compensation prescribing dollars are being spent and whether spending for those groups of drugs is going up or down.

The 28 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 Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

WCRI FlashReport — Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2017Q1 to 2020Q1. Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, and Dongchun Wang. May 2021. FR-21-02.


Copyright: WCRI

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Research Questions:

  1. Which drug groups make up higher shares of prescription payments under workers’ compensation?
  2. How do states compare in prescription drug payments, overall and by drug group?
  3. Did the prescription payments increase or decrease?
  4. Is physician dispensing driving prescription drug payments for any drug groups in any states?
  5. What are the early trends in prescription payments and opioids during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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