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ARC: HOW EMPLOYERS CAN BETTER MANAGE THE PHARMACEUTICAL PORTION OF THEIR WORKERS COMPENSATION PROGRA

Number, cost of workers comp narcotics prescriptions rising: NCCI

Workers Comp Narcotics Prescriptions

The number of narcotics prescriptions in workers compensation claims continues to grow as do costs for such medications, the National Council on Compensation Insurance Inc. said.

In a report released Thursday, Boca Raton, Fla.-based NCCI said there were an average of 0.79 narcotics prescriptions per comp claim in 2011, the latest data available. That is up from 0.77 in 2010 and 0.72 in 2009.

Meanwhile, the cost of narcotic prescriptions per workers comp claim reached $59 in 2011, up from $58 in 2010 and $55 in 2009, NCCI said.

NCCI noted that the number of narcotic prescriptions increased at a slightly faster rate than all workers comp prescriptions combined. The workers comp ratings and research agency said the number of claimants receiving five or more narcotic prescriptions reached 5.6% in 2010, up from 4.3% in 2005.

“This could be the result of scripts being written for smaller amounts of narcotics, necessitating more frequent refills, or it could be that claimants are getting more narcotics within the first 12 months after injury,” NCCI said in the report.

Physician dispensing was one of the main drivers of increases in the cost of workers comp prescriptions, NCCI found.

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