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Narcotic Pain Drugs Remain Atop List of Workers' Comp Insurer Concerns

Concern over the long-term implications of prescribing narcotic pain medications to injured workers has grown during the past two years.

January 9, 2013
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Addiction to opioid pain medications and the dispensing of drugs by doctors remain top concerns for workers' compensation companies, survey results released Jan. 9 show.

Concern over the long-term implications of prescribing narcotic pain medications to injured workers has grown during the past two years with respondents to this year's survey conducted by CompPharma L.L.C. saying the issue remains "very significant."

Tampa, Florida-based CompPharma is a consortium of pharmacy benefit managers.

It's 9th annual survey report, titled "Prescription Drug Management in Workers' Compensation" states that claims "payers have gotten the message: narcotics are highly problematic for workers' comp claimants, employers and insurers."

The report relies on survey responses from insurers, third-party administrators, and employers with prescription expenses totaling nearly $475 million.

Among other information, the report states that physician dispensing of marked-up, repackaged drugs is the second-highest workers' comp pharmacy cost driver concerning payers. Patient safety and higher costs associated with physician dispensing are among their concerns, the report states.

A summary of the report is available here.

Roberto Ceniceros writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.

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