Study: Painkiller Patch Tops List of Costliest Workers' Comp Drugs

According to The Hartford Financial Services Group's 2006 annual study of the 25 most costly drugs in workers' compensation, OxyContin, the long-acting narcotic painkiller that headed the list each year since 2001, had dropped to number five, replaced by Lidoderm, a non-narcotic pain killer in patch form.

"We remain concerned about the widespread use of narcotic pain killers to manage non-malignant pain in injured workers," said Dr. Robert Bonner, MD, MPH and medical director for The Hartford. "Narcotics account for 40 percent of the workers' compensation claim dollars we spend on pharmaceuticals, but other pain management drugs and combinations would work equally well for some patients and avoid the potential risks associated with narcotics."

The Hartford publishes its annual study is to track expenditure over time as they impact trends. The annual study found workers’ compensation pharmacy costs relatively flat for the past two years, rising just three percent in 2006 after dropping by one percent in 2005.

A complete list of The Hartford's Top 25 Drugs in Workers' Compensation, which shows ranking by total paid for the medication for 2004, 2005 and 2006, as well as year by year paid-per-prescription increases or decreases for each drug, can be viewed at www.thehartford.com.

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