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Physician dispensing of prescription drugs down slightly in Connecticut: WCRI

Posted On: Nov. 13, 2014 12:00 AM CST

Physician dispensing of repackaged prescription drugs has “decreased slightly” in Connecticut since workers compensation reforms took effect in July 2012, the Workers Compensation Research Institute said Thursday.

“Early Impact of Connecticut Reforms on Physician Dispensing,” a new study by the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based WCRI, examines the initial results of rules that limit the reimbursement amounts for physician-dispensed repackaged drugs.

Physician dispensing remained common in Connecticut after reforms went into effect in July 2012, with physicians dispensing 35% to 36% of all prescriptions, according to the study. But the practice “decreased slightly” from 39% in the second quarter of 2012.

“Recognizing that the data reflect early post-reform experience, the result is important to note because advocates for physician dispensing argued that such changes would make it more difficult for patients to have prescriptions filled at their physicians' offices,” the WCRI said in a statement.

The data analyzed included prescriptions filled during three calendar quarters — the second and fourth quarters of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 — for all medical claims that had injuries occurring within two years prior to the quarter, the study states. The data represented 64% of all medical claims in the state workers comp system.

Connecticut is among the more than 20 states that restrict physician dispensing or drug repackaging.

“In many states across the country, policymakers are debating whether doctors should be paid significantly more than pharmacies for dispensing the same drug,” Dr. Richard Victor, WCRI's executive director, said in the statement. “Policymakers in Connecticut adopted new rules, effective July 15, 2012, to narrow the price difference, and the research finds, based on the early post-reform data, the new regulations did not discourage physicians from continuing to dispense these drugs at lower prices, which was a concern.”

For most common drugs, the average price per pill paid to physicians decreased by 20% to 67% in the two quarters following July 2012, according to the study.