Shocking Statistics on Workers Comp Narcotics
The NCCI just released a study today on Narcotics in Workers Comp. The buzz on narcotics/opioids almost rivals fraud. I decided to read the study closely to see if there were any astounding facts.
The one statistic that stood out was that 40% of all narcotics in Workers Comp are consumed by 1% of the injured employees. I thought about this stat for a few minutes and came to the conclusion this was true Workers Comp sticker shock.
Along the same lines, but not as severe, 80% of all narcotics in Workers Comp is consumed by 10% of the injured employees. The report went on to say that the numbers have actually fallen a small amount over the last few years. That is amazing to me.
As expected, Oxycontin(r) and its generic equivalent were the most prevalent narcotic. Oxycontin and its generic was the most used narcotic in 2003. Its popularity waned. However it is now the ranked #1 again for narcotic use in Workers Comp.
I wrote about the abuse of Fentanyl in California’s WC system a few months ago. There is now even a stronger replacement for Fentanyl called Fentora. I recommend clicking the above link on Fentanyl. It is an eye-opener.
The concern is that Fentora is much stronger than Fentanyl as the dose has to be reduced when compared to Fentanyl before taking it. Fentanyl is actually 75 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Alaska’s generic only rule in 2008 was seen as a bold move and a way to cut Workers Comp prescription costs. Oxycontin and Fentanyl/Fentora have generic equivalents. This type of rule would not eliminate narcotics being used by injured employees. Would a Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) program be the way to handle this conundrum?
I had seen a posting or an article somewhere today that indicated the injured employees that are taking such powerful narcotics for pain management do not ever return to work. I will find that article this evening and post on it tomorrow.
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