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Breaking – Pharmaceutical Study – WCRI Covers Trends In 27 States


WCRI Pharmaceutical  Study Shows Decreased Use In Almost 27 States

WCRI  (Worker’s Compensation Research Institute – Boston, MA_  just released a vast pharmaceutical study that covered trends in 27 states.

workers comp pharmaceutical study pic biogesic
Wikimedia Commons Psiĥedelisto

One of the authors was Dr.  Vennela Thumula.  I have had the pleasure of speaking with her at length concerning some of the studies at the yearly WCRI conference.

PBM (Pharmacy Benefit Management) remains a hot topic in Worker’s Comp arena over the last 10 years with costs spiraling out of control.  The opioid epidemic reached far into work comp medical cost considerations.

From WCRI –

Workers’ compensation prescription drug payments per medical claim decreased by 15 percent or more in 25 of 27 study states over a three-year period from the first quarters of 2015 to 2018.

That equates to a massive reduction in pharmacy spend from in the three year period covered by the study.   A 15% reduction was tabulated in approximately 93% of the states covered by WCRI.

From WCRI –

The following are among the study’s findings:

  • Once prominent in some states, compounds now account for a very small percentage of prescription payments in most states.
  • The payment shares for opioids declined in all 27 study states to varying degrees.
  • Dermatological agents have become more prominent in many states. Payment shares increased by more than 10 percentage points in 8 of the study states, led by Pennsylvania with a 23 percentage point increase and Illinois with a 21 percentage point increase.
  • Twelve of 27 states experienced modest increases of at least 3 percentage points in payment shares for anticonvulsants.
  • The payment shares for musculoskeletal therapy agents and NSAIDs changed little over the study period in many states

One negative outcome would be the decrease in NSAIDs which have shown to be just as effective as opioids in pain reduction.

The 27 states in the study are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin.


To learn more about this pharmaceutical study or to purchase a copy, visit https://www.wcrinet.org/reports/wcri-flashreport-interstate-variation-and-trends-in-workers-compensation-drug-payments. The authors of this study are Dr. Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, and Dr. John Ruser.


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James J Moore - Workers Comp Expert

Raleigh, NC, United States

About The Author...

James founded a Workers’ Compensation consulting firm, J&L Risk Management Consultants, Inc. in 1996. J&L’s mission is to reduce our clients’ Workers Compensation premiums by using time-tested techniques. J&L’s claims, premium, reserve and Experience Mod reviews have saved employers over $9.8 million in earned premiums over the last three years. J&L has saved numerous companies from bankruptcy proceedings as a result of insurance overpayments.

James has over 27 years of experience in insurance claims, audit, and underwriting, specializing in Workers’ Compensation. He has supervised, and managed the administration of Workers’ Compensation claims, and underwriting in over 45 states. His professional experience includes being the Director of Risk Management for the North Carolina School Boards Association. He created a very successful Workers’ Compensation Injury Rehabilitation Unit for school personnel.

James’s educational background, which centered on computer technology, culminated in earning a Masters of Business Administration (MBA); an Associate in Claims designation (AIC); and an Associate in Risk Management designation (ARM). He is a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and a licensed financial advisor. The NC Department of Insurance has certified him as an insurance instructor. He also possesses a Bachelors’ Degree in Actuarial Science.

LexisNexis has twice recognized his blog as one of the Top 25 Blogs on Workers’ Compensation. J&L has been listed in AM Best’s Preferred Providers Directory for Insurance Experts – Workers Compensation for over eight years. He recently won the prestigious Baucom Shine Lifetime Achievement Award for his volunteer contributions to the area of risk management and safety. James was recently named as an instructor for the prestigious Insurance Academy.

James is on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the North Carolina Mid-State Safety Council. He has published two manuals on Workers’ Compensation and three different claims processing manuals. He has also written and has been quoted in numerous articles on reducing Workers’ Compensation costs for public and private employers. James publishes a weekly newsletter with 7,000 readers.

He currently possess press credentials and am invited to various national Workers Compensation conferences as a reporter.

James’s articles or interviews on Workers’ Compensation have appeared in the following publications or websites:

  • Risk and Insurance Management Society (RIMS)
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Bloomberg Business News
  • WorkCompCentral.com
  • Claims Magazine
  • Risk & Insurance Magazine
  • Insurance Journal
  • Workers Compensation.com
  • LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites
  • Various trade publications


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