The latest survey on the top-25 drugs used in workers' compensation claims showed that the overall price of pharmaceuticals in 2005 went down. The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., a national provider of workers' comp insurance, based the research on data from its clients. This was the first drop in costs since The Hartford began conducting this annual survey in 2001.
Glen Pitruzzello, vice president of workers' comp strategy and practices at The Hartford, attributed the drop to several cost-control measures, such as identifying whether patients actually need a prescription and placing controls to cut out unnecessary prescriptions.
Pitruzzello said that The Hartford has substituted generic drugs for brand-name versions when available.
The insurer also suggested that pharmacy management and claims review processes could have something to do with the price drop.
Other lessons from the study might not be as apparent. For instance, Pitruzzello pointed to the withdrawl of such cox-2-inhibiting nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs as Vioxx and Bextra. Ibuprofen has filled the void in these prescriptions, which, according to Pitruzzello, demonstrates how workers' compensation patients can now receive the care they need without new, expensive prescriptions.
The list also revealed how drugs known for high potential for abuse are still prescribed for workers' comp injuries. No. 6 Actiq is a pain-killer originally approved by the FDA for cancer patients. But the narcotic jumped three spots in The Hartford's list because of increased per-patient dosage and per-pill cost.
The Hartford also cautioned that these positive results might not indicate a trend. More and more drugs are prescribed for workers' comp injuries, and the prices of such drugs generally is going up.
October 1, 2006
Copyright 2006© LRP Publications