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Narcotics usage, price rising in workers comp: NCCI

Posted On: Jun. 5, 2012 12:00 AM CST

BOCA RATON, Fla.—The cost of narcotic painkillers in workers compensation claims has grown in the past several years as more injured workers have received prescriptions for such medications, NCCI Holdings Inc. said in a study.

The Boca Raton, Fla.-based rating and research agency said Tuesday that narcotics accounted for $35 of the average workers comp medical claim paid in 2009, the latest data available. That is up 14% from 2008.

Despite the increase in costs, narcotics accounted for about 21% of total drug spending in workers comp for 2009, which NCCI said has remained mostly stable during the past decade.

Meanwhile, 13% of workers comp medical claims included narcotics prescriptions in 2008, up from 11% in 2004 and 8% in 2001, according to NCCI.

OxyContin was the most prescribed narcotic in workers comp for 2009. NCCI said that 1% of injured workers accounted for nearly 40% of narcotics costs in workers comp for 2009.