Spending on Narcotics Analgesics in Comp Drops for Second Year
Progressive Medical released the findings of its 2010 Drug Spend Analysis, which revealed changes in medication spending on workers' comp claims from 2008 to 2009 for the company's clients. The report also examines key factors that may influence future expenditures, such as price, utilization and product mix changes.
Among the key findings of the report, researchers noted that narcotic analgesics -- powerful painkillers used to treat workplace injuries -- declined to 33.6 percent in 2009, down from 34.1 percent in 2008 and 34.8 percent in 2007. Researchers pointed to stronger enforcement actions and the awareness of the overuse of narcotics as reasons for the decline.
Painkiller brands belonging to the class of narcotic analgesics, the top medication category in workers' comp, include OxyContin®, Actiq® and Fentora®. Actiq and OxyContin together make up about $1 of every $8 spent on workers' comp, the study found. Researchers noted that of the top five medication categories in workers' comp, narcotic analgesics are the most problematic. They can lead to addiction long after a worker's injury has healed.
Other highlights of the study found that:
- Net total drug spend dropped slightly. Net change in total workers' comp drug spending per injured party (not just for narcotics) declined 1.9 percent in 2009 over the year-ago period.
- Generics continued to gain ground. Increases in the use of generic medications also contributed to the declining trend in 2009. The percentage of overall prescriptions filled with generics increased to 68.6 percent of products sold in 2009, up from 67.2 percent of products sold in 2008.
"This analysis strongly highlights the value of putting strategies into place to control medication spending," said Tron Emptage, executive vice president ofbusiness development at Progressive Medical. "An effective pharmacy benefit management program can help workers' compensation payors realize savings as much as 10 to 15 percent per claim."
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
September 13, 2010
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