Certain types of non-opioid anti-inflammatory and anticonvulsant medications prescribed to injured workers have become “significant cost drivers” for workers, according to a report issued Monday by the California Workers’ Compensation Institute.
CWCI’s analysis sought to identify non-opioid pain medications with high average reimbursements that have an excessive impact on total payments within their drug group, noting changes in the average amounts per prescription for each of these drugs from 2012 to 2021.
Highlighted were low-volume, high-cost fenoprofen calcium, with an average payment of $1,479 per script, and ketoprofen, with an average payment of $1,073 per script, keeping anti-inflammatory drugs at the top of the list in terms of total drug spending. .
Fenoprofen calcium accounted for 1.4% of 2021 anti-inflammatory prescriptions but 33.2% of payments. Ketoprofen accounted for 0.6% of prescriptions but 9.8% of payments.
Fenoprofen calcium also represented just 0.5% of all workers’ compensation prescriptions in 2021 but 8.1% of total system drug spending, by far the largest share of any single drug.
The analysis also found that four anticonvulsant drugs—lacosamide, levetiracetam, lamotrigine, and pregabalin—accounted for 24.2% of 2021 anticonvulsant prescriptions, but 72.5% of anticonvulsant drug spending.