Drug Spend a Significant Component of Worker’s Comp Cost

July 16, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – A new report says injured workers’ medical and pharmacy costs continued to rise, while worker’s compensation claim frequencies decreased.

Medical costs increased on average 5% to 5.5% per year from 2004 to 2009, and pharmacy costs per injured worker rose 6.5% in 2009, according to PMSI, a worker’s compensation pharmacy benefits manager. Claim rates for worker’s compensation experienced a 4% decrease in 2009.   

According to PMSI’s Annual Drug Trends Report, these trends have necessitated a strong focus on the management of prescriptions to better control drug spend.  

The increase in pharmacy costs was driven by a 4.7% rise in prescription prices and a 1.7% uptick in utilization. The rise in manufacturer average wholesale price of 6.3% remains the primary driver for price increases.  

However, the report noted a 3.6%-increase in mail order utilization resulted in an overall decrease in average prescription price. In addition, the use of generic medications decreased the average spend per injured worker by 0.12% or $2.31 in 2009.  

The full report can be requested from http://www.pmsionline.com/annual-drug-trends-report.