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 about 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 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 The authors of this study are Dr. Vennela Thumula, Te-Chun Liu, and Dr. John Ruser.

This blog post is provided by James Moore, AIC, MBA, ChFC, ARM, and is republished with permission from J&L Risk Management Consultants. Visit the full website at

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