Topical medications jump 9.8% in unmanaged comp claims in 2017

The prescribing of topical pain-management creams rose in 2017 workers compensation claims that were not monitored by pharmacy benefits managers, according to a report released Wednesday by Coventry Workers Comp.

The second in a series covering workers comp drugs trends, Downers Grove, Illinois-based Coventry compared its 2017 data on managed claims, representing 77.6% of total comp prescriptions, and unmanaged claims, representing 24.7%, to draw attention to concerns, according to the report.

Researchers found that overall drug utilization in comp was down in 2017 — especially in opioids and compounds medication, an overall industry trend — with 5.9% drops in managed claims and 7.4% in unmanaged claims.

But topical medications prescribed in the unmanaged category of claims jumped 9.8%, compared with a 6.5% drop in the managed category. This was driven by “high-dollar, private-label topical analgesics marketed directly to physicians’ offices… contributing to the significant rise in unmanaged topical utilization per claim — demonstrating the need for continued focus on moving these transactions into the (pharmacy benefits manager),” the report stated.

This article was first published by Business Insurance.

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