Login Register Subscribe
Current Issue

Louisiana weighs closed drug formulary to combat opioid abuse

Reprints

A Louisiana bill would implement a closed drug formulary to help combat overutilization of opioids and compounded drugs in the state.

Republican Sen. Danny Martiny filed S.B. 256 on Friday, ahead of the Louisiana State Senate's 2015 regular season, which convenes on April 13.

Closed formularies, which have reduced workers comp medical costs in Ohio, Texas and Washington, require proof that non-formulary medications — or “N” drugs — are medically necessary before they can be prescribed to injured workers. Meanwhile a limited list of covered medications — or “Y” drugs — don't require preauthorization.

In Louisiana, N drugs would include medications that are labeled narcotics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, any compounded drugs or compound medication, any experimental drugs, and any drugs that aren't listed on the closed formulary at the time of prescription, according to S.B. 256.

The bill also states that a Closed Pharmacy Formulary Oversight Panel, to be appointed by the director of the Office of Workers' Compensation, will develop the state's closed formulary and update it no less than once a year. The panel would consist of pharmacists and physicians.

Texas' closed formulary went into effect in September 2011 for new injuries and in September 2013 for all injuries, while monopolistic workers comp states Washington and Ohio implemented formularies in 2004 and 2011, respectively. The states have credited their formularies for significant declines in opioid prescriptions.

According to a May 2014 report by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, Louisiana has more long-term opioid users than most other states.

The proposed law states that the closed formulary won't apply to claims with a date of injury prior to Jan. 1, 2016.