The Workers’ Compensation industry is engaged in an ongoing battle against an adapting pharmaceutical market. The number of physician-dispensed drugs declined significantly in the last few years and Big Pharma is attempting to maintain high prices by changing drug strengths and formulations through a process known as drug compounding. Understandably, drug compounding is having a dramatic effect on Workers’ Compensation systems.
A recent study that explored physician dispensing in 26 states found that both prescribing frequency and pricing decreased in all states with reforms, and in some without reforms. There are two types of reforms:
Price-focused reforms: Caps are instituted at the wholesale price for high-priced, repackaged drugs
Limiting reforms: Certain types of drugs are restricted for a certain time period
In all post-reform states, physician dispensing was reduced. In many reform states, there was a significant decrease in cost share of physician-dispensed drugs to all prescription drugs. In the states that had the most prescription-dispensed drugs, there was a significant increase in new drug strengths and new formulations of certain existing drugs.
Experts believe that the changes in drug strengths and formulations show just how adaptable the pharmaceutical supply chain can be and that cutting off repackaging may be the best answer. Many also believe that employers should be permitted to direct injured workers to a specific network of pharmacies to fight physician dispensing and drug compounding issues.
If you believe you have suffered a prescription-related work injury, contact a Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyer at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Gross. Call 215-512-1500 or 267-589-0090, or complete our online form for a free consultation.