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Increasing generic drug prices could pose problems for workers comp

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While the use of generic medications in workers compensation has been noted as a strategy to help manage medical costs for injured workers, it appears some generic drugs are seeing price hikes that could potentially mitigate any expected savings.

A report this month in the New England Journal of Medicine says that some generic prescription drugs that are "not protected by patents or market exclusivity" have become "extremely expensive" in recent years.

For instance, the study cites a media report showing that the price for doxycycline hyclate, a commonly used antibiotic, jumped from 6.3 cents per 100 milligram pill in 2012 to $3.36 per 100 milligram pill in 2013.

"Numerous factors may cause price increases for non–patent-protected drugs, including drug shortages, supply disruptions, and consolidations within the generic-drug industry," the report reads. "These factors generally lead to a decrease in market competition."

Although lawmakers reportedly are discussing ways to help consumers deal with spiking generic drug prices, the New England Journal says "there is little that individual consumers can do" to avoid paying higher prices for now. It seems likely those prescription cost pressures are being felt by workers comp payers that pay for 100% of prescriptions used to treat occupational injuries.

If spiking generic prices are affecting your workers comp costs and you'd be willing to discuss the issue with Business Insurance, send me an email or give me a call here.