Prescription drugs account for an estimated 19 percent of workers' compensation medical costs in 2009, according to an annual report released Sept. 13 by NCCI Holdings Inc. That amount, however, is only “slightly higher” than its 2010 estimate, the workers' compensation rating and research organization said in the report, Workers' Compensation Prescription Drug Study: 2011 Update. The NCCI study is based on data from medical services provided between 1996 and 2009 for claims that occurred between 1994 and 2009. In total, medical costs per workers' compensation claim average more than $6,000 and soar to almost $25,000 for lost-time claims, according to the parent of the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. While per-claim drug costs grew 12 percent during 2009, the NCCI found that overall prescription cost increases were driven more by a rise in utilization than by increases in the price of prescription drugs. Among other findings, the NCCI said physician dispensing of drugs continued to increase in almost every state during 2009 and accounted for 28 percent of the dollar share of all prescriptions. That was up from 23 percent the prior year. The study is available at ncci.com. Filed by Roberto Ceniceros of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email email@example.com. Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management's Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.