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Survey of Prescription Drug Management in Work Comp – results are in

CompPharma’s Tenth Annual Survey of Prescription Drug Management in Worker’s Comp is available for download here.

There are two key takeaways from this year’s Survey; the continued decline in drug costs for programs managed by PBMs, and the industry’s sophistication, knowledge, and expertise about all things drug-related.  The latter is one of those findings that is not immediately apparent as it has gradually increased over the last ten years; it is blindingly obvious when one reviews the first Survey and compares it to this year’s.

Respondents’ knowledge of pharmacy is deep and broad; their comments on issues, concerns, and results reflects that knowledge as they discuss issues including:

  • the dangers of benzos and opioids prescribed together,
  • concerns about opioid addiction and treatment thereof,
  • rapid growth in urine drug monitoring,
  • safety issues inherent in physician dispensing,
  • and drug utilization review functions and programs

For the third consecutive year, respondents reported an aggregate flat or decrease in drug spend.  Careful observers may find this puzzling as overall industry data indicates drug costs are up.  However, the Survey’s respondents all use PBMs, with most taking full advantage of many of the programs and services offered by their PBM.  Perhaps more telling, other data indicates spend on opioids on programs managed by PBMs was also down last year.  

All good, right?


Senior management remains quite concerned about drugs, with the long term impact of opioids the key driver of that concern. 

And concerned they should be.

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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