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Opioids top comp payers' concerns, but compounded drugs gain scrutiny

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While the use of opioids remains a top concern for workers compensation payers, compounded drugs are a leading emerging issue, according to a new survey.

Opioids are the “single biggest problem” in workers comp for the fourth year, according to CompPharma L.L.C.'s 11th annual “Prescription Drug Management in Workers Compensation” survey, released Tuesday.

When asked to score their concern about opioids, respondents rated the problem a 4.6 out of 5, down from 4.8 in 2012, according to the report, which uses 2013 data.

“Notably, all but one respondent rated (opioid use) a 4 or 5,” the Madison, Connecticut-based pharmacy benefit manager consortium said in the report.

Compounded drugs were rated the top emerging issue by 16 of all 25 survey respondents, which included insurers, employers, third-party administrators and state funds.

In the 2012 report, the consensus among respondents was that compounding had been “a problem in California and a few other states,” according to the report. “It is clear that payers are now quite aware of the compounding issue.”

Zohydro, a powerful opioid that was released to the market earlier this year, was listed by four respondents as a new or emerging workers comp issue to note, according to the report.