California Workers Compensation Prescription Drug Trends (Research Update, Published March 2021)

A CWCI analysis of changing trends in the utilization and reimbursement of prescription drugs in the California workers’ compensation system, based on data from 5.85 million prescriptions dispensed to California injured workers from 2011 through June 2020.  The report shows the changing prescription and payment distributions among the top 20 therapeutic drug groups; provides a focused look at the trends in the volume, payment, and potency of opioids used;, and measures changes in the mix of prescriptions and payments for drugs within the formulary’s Exempt, Non-Exempt, Not Listed, Special Fill and Perioperative Drug categories, with comparisons from pre- and post-formulary periods. The 22-page report includes an Executive Summary of findings, a background section, analyses of the findings and accompanying graphics, and appendices showing the distributions for the top 20 Exempt, Non-Exempt, and Not Listed drugs from 2016 though the first half of 2020.