CompPharma Survey Says Workers Comp Drug Spend Has Decreased by over $1 Billion in the Past Eight Years

15th Annual Survey of Prescription Drug Management in
Workers’ Compensation showed that pharmacy costs in workers’
compensation have decreased by $1.1 billion during the past eight years.

“Pharmacy is no longer fastest-growing segment of work comp medical
expenses,” said Joe Paduda, president of CompPharma, LLC. “Work comp
payers, regulators and PBMs have been extremely successful in reducing
drug spend, much more successful than other payers. Survey respondents
reported a 9.84 percent decline in total pharmacy costs during the past
year, while the national spend across all payer types decreased by a
paltry 2.1 percent.”

Twelve of the 29 respondents credited clinical programs for the decrease
while eight cited fewer opioid prescriptions. “The latter makes sense as
workers’ compensation patients who take opioids usually also take other
medications, often to combat opioid side effects,” Paduda said.

Despite their success, payers remain focused on opioid management. “They
know that far too many patients still use opioids and are concerned
about the risk of addiction and dependency,” Paduda noted.

The trend toward consolidation in the PBM industry concerned some
respondents. “Some payers believe the large PBMs will be less willing to
compete for their business and less willing to customize programs for
them,” Paduda said. “At the same time, some see the potential that more
resources and better buying power will help them further reduce costs.”

The survey analyzed the 2017 pharmacy cost data of 29 workers’
compensation insurance carriers, third-party administrators,
self-insured employers, and state funds. A complimentary copy of CompPharma’s
15th Annual Survey of Prescription Drug Management in
Workers’ Compensation can be downloaded from

About CompPharma

Established by industry consultants Joseph Paduda and Helen King
Patterson, CompPharma, LLC is an advocacy, research and education
organization focused on pharmacy management in workers’ compensation.
More information is available at
or by contacting Patterson at 813-690-4787 or

Editor note: The 2.1 percent is found in IQVIA’s April 2018 “Medicine
Use and Spending in the US.”

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