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Workers comp pharmacy spend down 11%: Study

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Insurers overall averaged 11% less in pharmacy costs from 2015 to 2016, according to a study released Tuesday by CompPharma L.L.C.

Maggie Valley, North Carolina-based CompPharma released its 14th annual Prescription Drug Management in Workers’ Compensation survey after researchers analyzed the 2016 pharmacy cost data of 23 workers compensation insurers, third-party administrators, self-insured employers and state funds. All but four of them spent less on drugs in 2016, with three seeing declines of greater than 20% and six reporting declines greater than 15%, according to the report, for an average decline of 11%.

The survey also showed an overall drop of 13.3% in opioid costs — consistent with other national studies, the report said — with opioids accounting for 26.8% of the total pharmacy spend.

“Clearly the efforts of workers’ comp regulators, payers, desk-level staff, (pharmacy benefit managers) and prescribers have paid off,” CompPharma President Joseph Paduda said in a statement. “While we have much left to do, this represents a dramatic improvement in the lives of thousands of patients.”