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CompPharma Releases 18th Annual Prescription Drug Management Survey Report

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Prescription drug costs were up slightly and physician dispensing returned as a top concern.

Maggie Valley, N.C. (April 18, 2023) – CompPharma released the results of its 18th Annual Prescription Drug Management in Workers’ Compensation survey, which probes payers’ concerns about pharmacy management.

“Physician dispensing is back with a vengeance,” said CompPharma President Joe Paduda.  Respondents rated it as the single largest problem in workers’ compensation pharmacy.

After seven-year decline, prescription drug costs rose slightly with nearly one-third of the survey respondents reported an increase in pharmacy spend. However, the amount spent on opioids continued its downward trend with a 12.5% decrease between 2021 and 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, opioid spend went down 14.82%, and there was a huge 29.74% reduction between 2017 and 2018.

“Opioids represented 13.4% of respondents’ pharmacy,” said Paduda. “This is the lowest figure in the history of this survey.”

Yet payers remain concerned about opioids, especially with legacy opioid patients where patient resistance poses an obstacle. Payers would like to offer alternatives, citing physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and providing treatment early in the life of the claim.  Some discussed the potential of virtual reality.

“There’s a feeling that physician intransience and attorneys refusing to allow contact with patients to offer pain management alternatives contributes to this resistance,” said Paduda.

A complimentary copy of the report, available at provides additional details on what payers want from their PBMs and several charts tracking historical data.  

About CompPharma

Owned by Joe Paduda and Helen King Patterson, CompPharma, LLC is a research and consulting firm focused on pharmacy management in workers’ compensation.  More information is available at or by contacting Patterson at 813-690-4787 or

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