|U.S. Workers' Compensation Prescription Drug Spending Decreased 7.6% in 2016 Through Cost-Savings Solutions, Improved Care for Injured Workers|
"In a year when many payers wrestled with drug price increases that dominated the news,
Decrease in Opioid Use Drives Down Trend
In 2016, opioids remained the most expensive therapy class at
However, for the sixth year, overall opioid trend decreased. In 2016, trend decreased 13.4 percent due to a combination of
This stark decrease in overall pharmacy trend — heavily driven by decreased opioid utilization — proves key stakeholders are taking action to combat the epidemic of opioid abuse and misuse:
Bending the Curve on Compound Spending
For the third year in a row, spending on compounded medications decreased. In 2016, trend was
Optimizing the Dispensing Channel
Medication dispensed directly to injured workers by prescribers may result in additional costs as the drugs are typically repackaged or relabeled and often are not subject to the same pricing regulations as those dispensed by a pharmacy. Injured worker safety is also a concern.
"Physician-dispensed medications lack the point-of-sale safety edits which occur at a retail or home delivery pharmacy," Nelson said. "This puts injured workers at risk for potential drug interactions or duplication of therapy."
According to 2016 data, the average cost of a physician-dispensed medication was
When prescriptions are filled through more costly channels, such as an out-of-network pharmacy or third-party biller, payers incur additional cost, with no additional value. This results in waste in the healthcare system.
For long-term medication needs, drugs delivered directly to an injured worker's home cost payers 15 percent less than those purchased from a retail pharmacy, while adding convenience for the injured worker.
Continued Vigilance for Specialty Medication Trends
Spending on specialty medications to treat conditions such as hepatitis C and HIV stabilized in 2016. While these drugs represent less than 1 percent of all medications used by injured workers, the extreme high cost per prescription requires payers to stay vigilant.
"Managing specialty spend requires clinical expertise and strategic guidance," Nelson said. "Clinicians at
The comprehensive review of trends in prescription drug spending for workers' compensation plans is available at express-scripts.com/corporate.
For more information, visit Lab.Express-Scripts.com or follow @ExpressScripts on Twitter.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-workers-compensation-prescription-drug-spending-decreased-76-in-2016-through-cost-savings-solutions-improved-care-for-injured-workers-300433903.html
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