Your ANSwer for Workers' Compensation Medical Cost Containment

Opioids Still the Top Prescribed Drug in California

Using data derived from the 10.8 million workers comp prescriptions dispensed between January 2005 and December 2014, a recently released report by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute identified opioids as the number one prescribed drug in California’s workers’ compensation system.

Report findings indicate that opioid prescriptions accounted for 27.2% of total prescribed pharmaceuticals. In addition, the average cost of opioid prescriptions rose by 85% from $61 to $113. In comparison, other prescription drugs within the same time frame experienced only a 39% increase, from $94 to $131. The report also […]

June 28th, 2016|Opioid Abuse, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Opioids Still the Top Prescribed Drug in California

Putting the Injured Worker First

In the workman’s comp industry, significant effort is put toward breaking the pharmaceutical cost cycle for Payers. As the industry fights for savings, however, injured workers often get lost in the shuffle. The nameless and faceless many among worker’s comp injury statistics are quite removed from the system they rely upon.

Bottom Line Statistics Means Poor Outcomes for Injured Workers

As political pundits fight for special interests, benefit caps are set with no relation to each state’s average weekly wage, ignoring improved wage data and analytical methods that could mend take-home […]

June 15th, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on Putting the Injured Worker First
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    CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

The CDCs latest opioid prescribing guidelines, released this March, were created with the goal of achieving balance between the analgesic and addictive properties of opioid analgesics, to uphold the safety as well as meet the pain management needs of the public at large. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding these guidelines points to a detrimental issue at the crux of their implementation: A fractured field – two expert, yet conflicting, schools of thought on the current opioid policy.

  • Treating chronic pain with a wider range of treatments, as opposed to relying mainly […]
May 31st, 2016|Pharmaceutical Industry, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on CDC Opioid Guidelines Sheds Light on Conflicting Expert Opinions

Key Takeaways from a Recent National Safety Council Survey

Subsequent to the CDC’s new guidelines regarding the treatment of chronic pain, The National Safety Council (NSC) released its latest survey regarding doctor prescribing practices. Summarized below, the statistics

CDC Guidelines: Use non-opioid therapies first.
NSC Stats: 74% of doctors erroneously believe opioids (morphine, oxycodone) are the most effective way to treat pain.
The Missing Link: Research shows OTC pain meds (ibuprofen, acetaminophen) offer the most effective relief for acute pain.

CDC Guidelines: Do not use opioids for the routine treatment of chronic pain.
NSC Stats: 67% of doctors base there prescribing […]

May 15th, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Key Takeaways from a Recent National Safety Council Survey

Prescription Drug Abuse Knows No Bounds

Earlier this month, the American public was shocked by the untimely death of iconic pop legend Prince. Though autopsy results remain unreported, media coverage alleges that Prince was struggling with a prescription pill addiction to Percocet, receiving treatment for an opioid overdose just days before his death.

This post is not to re-hash celebrity news from various gossip reports but rather to point out the depth and breadth of the prescription drug epidemic. In the past decade, Whitney Houston, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson were […]

April 25th, 2016|Workers Compensation Payers|Comments Off on Prescription Drug Abuse Knows No Bounds
  • pharma cost management for large loss workers compensatino claims
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    Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs

Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs

2015 saw rising drug prices contributing to the growth in pharmacy spending for American workers’ compensation payers. Meanwhile, opioid and compound drug cost management continues to be an Achilles heel. An effective pharma cost management program can offset these costs by aiming to improve pain treatment regimens for injured workers.

Pharmacotherapy Review Can Reduce Opioid Spend

Opioids continue to be the costliest class of medications for occupational injuries. To combat the rise in opioid utilization in chronic pain treatment of injured workers, ANS introduced a face-to-face and highly proactive approach to […]

April 1st, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Medical Cost Containment, Pharmaceutical Cost Containment, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Effective Pharma Management Can Help Offset Increases in Prescription Costs

2016 WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference

ANS recently attended the 2016 WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference. The independent, not-for-profit institute studies and delivers objective information pertaining to public policy issues involving the workers’ comp system.

 

 

Conference Panel Highlights:

  • Opioid Prescribing in Workers’ Comp
    • Overview:
      Opioids are a societal problem – not just a workers’ comp issue, and it will take a decade to dig ourselves out. Guidelines are necessary to combat the growing trend.
    • Positive Trends:
      Prescription frequency varies widely by state, leading to revised prescribing guidelines in medical/workers’ comp communities. Retail pharmacies are no longer simply filling, but verifying […]

March 30th, 2016|Opioid Abuse, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on 2016 WCRI Annual Issues & Research Conference

FDA Focuses on Opioid Policy

The FDA has recently acknowledged its own need to establish a “far-reaching action plan to reassess the agency’s approach to opioid medications” in order to reduce the trend, deemed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as “a serious public health issue.” Now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., more Americans currently die from drug overdoses annually than motor vehicle crashes, the majority of which can be linked back to opioid prescription medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others.

National Attention

In addition […]

March 15th, 2016|Opioid Abuse, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on FDA Focuses on Opioid Policy
  • Pharmacotherapy review reduces costs and minimizes risks present by polypharmacy
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    Potential Workers Compensation Cost Drivers- Private Label Topicals

Potential Workers Compensation Cost Drivers- Private Label Topicals

We are seeing a trend in which doctors are increasingly prescribing private label topical drugs for the treatment of chronic pain. Awareness of these expensive and clinically unproven products is becoming increasingly important due to their potential safety and cost implications.

What are they?

Differing from custom compounds, private label topicals are similar to over-the-counter (OTC) topical products, with varying formulations that are not clinically tested for either safety or efficacy. Private-label topical analgesics are not recommended according to evidence-based guidelines and they are not approved by the FDA.

From a clinical perspective, private-label […]

February 29th, 2016|Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Potential Workers Compensation Cost Drivers- Private Label Topicals

Innovating Clinical Intervention

The lack of communication among treating physicians for injured workers has been a known deficit in large loss claims for some time. Professional liability insurance companies have recently issued statements concerning the trend of incomplete patient information, missing tests and poor communication among physicians resulting in lengthier recoveries and costly medical treatment regimens.

Current clinical intervention programs embraced by the industry merely scratch the surface of success as they focus solely on a patient’s medication therapy. The reality is that in […]

February 15th, 2016|Drug Utilization Review, Pharmacotherapy Review|Comments Off on Innovating Clinical Intervention