Texas' Shift in Workers' Comp Drug Prescriptions

Posted on Jul 08, 2017

According to a recent report by the Texas Department of Insurance--Workers Comp Division, workers' comp related compound drug prescriptions increased between 2012 and 2014, and there was a decrease between 2014 and 2016. In 2010, a total of 18,020 compound drugs were prescribed. The number of prescriptions rose to 26,380 by 2014, and by 2016 the number decreased to 20,751. 

During the compounding process, a pharmacist combines and mixes ingredients of medication to make the medicine fit for the patient. Texas pharmacists are required to follow the guidelines outlined in the Official Disability Guidelines.

A prescription compounded drug, as described by the Insurance Journal, is a "component bill line (that contains) bulk chemicals, pharmaceutical adjuvants, or powder-form of common ingredients of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants."

In 2010, the cost of compounded drugs totaled at $6 million, which only accounted for four percent of workers' compensation pharmacy costs totaling at $152 million. By 2014, the cost of compounded drugs increased to $12 million, and in 2016 this cost decreased to $11 million.

The average cost of a compounded drug in 2010 was $356, which increased to $829 by 2016.

There were 3,048 workers' compensation claims in 2016 that involved one or more compounded drugs. The per-claim of compounded drugs increased from $1,993 to $5,936 from 2010 to 2016. Since 2013, this number has slightly increased.

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