Cost-Driver Medications In The Top California Workers Comp Therapeutic Drug Groups: Part 2, Dermatologicals, Opioids, and Antidepressants (Spotlight Report, Published May 2023)

The second report in a 3-part CWCI research series on low-volume/high-cost drugs used to treat injured workers in California spotlights three Dermatological drugs, three Opioids, and three Antidepressant medications that account for a relatively small share of the prescriptions within their therapeutic drug groups but that have become significant cost drivers by consuming a disproportionately large share of the payments. Using data from the Institute’s Prescription Drug Application, the study track changes in the distribution of California workers’ compensation prescriptions and prescription payments over the 10-year study period (service years 2012 – 2021), notes each of the highlighted drug’s share of the prescriptions and payments within its therapeutic drug group and the average amounts paid per prescription across the study period, shows the percent of the 2021 prescriptions dispensed as a brand rather than a generic drug, and reviews factors that contribute to the high cost of the medications.