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Dermatological drug payments rise in most states, opioids drop


Dermatological drug payment shares have risen more than 10% and are a greater portion of workers compensation drug spend in many states, the Workers Compensation Research Institute said in a study released Tuesday.

Payment shares for dermatological drugs increased more than 10% from the first quarter of 2016 to the first quarter of 2019 in nine of 28 states studied by researchers from the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based institute.

WCRI researchers studied prescription payment shares of workers comp drugs for 28 states, as well as the per-claim payment, which is based on quarterly payments in each group compared to all prescriptions filled in that quarter.

The report, Interstate Variation and Trends in Workers’ Compensation Drug Payments: 2016Q1 to 2019Q1, revealed that per-claim payments varied substantially for dermatological drugs based on state, from $7 per claim in Iowa in 2019 to $192 per claim in Illinois, and that six states — Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, South Carolina and Virginia — saw rapid increases in the average payment per claim for dermatological prescriptions.

While workers compensation prescription drug payments per medical claim decreased by 15% or more in 22 of the states, payment shares for drugs including antiretrovirals and anticoagulants increased in many states, with the entire category of drugs classified as “other” increasing between 22% and 28% over the study period in median states.

Of the states, California saw the sharpest drop in workers comp drug spend with a 75% decline payments per claim over the study period, followed by Delaware (63% decline), Wisconsin and Texas (44% decline) and Arkansas (43% decline). Only two of the study states saw their drug spend rise during the study period, with Connecticut’s per-claim workers comp drug payments increasing 27% and South Carolina’s rising 4% from 2016 to 2019.

Opioid payments declined in all of the states studied, with payment share reductions ranging from about 9% to 20% in a typical state. In California, per-claim payments for opioids declined 85%. The payment share of opioids also dropped in all states except for Delaware. Compounds also significantly declined, according to the report, and make up just a small percentage of prescription payments. Payments for anticonvulsants, musculoskeletal therapy agents and NSAIDs remained steady in most states.

The 28 states in the study include Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.







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