Louisiana Tops List of States with the Highest Workers' Compensation Drug Costs

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In a new WCRI study, the cost of drugs for injured workers in Louisiana's workers' compensation system was more than double the typical state with double the number of pills per claim.

Average Rx Payment per Claim with Rx: 2006/2008

Average Rx Payment per Claim with Rx: 2006/2008

Injured workers in Louisiana receive more prescriptions for medications, more pills per prescription and paid more per pill than other states in the study.

Injured workers in Louisiana receive more prescriptions for medications, more pills per prescription and paid more per pill than other states in a new study conducted by the Workers Compensation Research Institute (WCRI).

The WCRI report, Prescription Benchmarks, 2nd Edition: Trends and Interstate Comparisons, found that among the 17 states studied, Louisiana had the highest workers’ compensation prescription costs.

At $1,182, the average workers’ compensation prescription payment per claim in Louisiana with prescriptions was more than three times as high as that in the lowest cost state. It was also 50-70 percent higher than the states with higher prescription costs.

The study cited a number of factors behind the high costs, including:

  •     The higher workers’ compensation pharmacy fee schedule in Louisiana,
  •     The higher average number of pills per workers’ compensation claim – 85 percent higher

than the 17-state median, particularly for pain medications and muscle relaxants,

  •     More frequent use of brand names where generic equivalents or alternatives were available,
  •     Higher prices paid to physicians who dispensed drugs directly to their patients.

WCRI is based in Cambridge, MA and is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit public policy research organization supported by employers, insurers, insurance regulators, state regulatory agencies, managed care companies, and health care providers, as well as several state labor organizations. For more information, visit: http://www.wcrinet.org.

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Andrew Kenneally
Workers Compensation Research Institute
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