Regulation seen as crucial to curbing opioid excesses in workers comp

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Painkiller Prescriptions

Prescription drug monitoring programs and “pill mill” laws can curb opioid prescribing and use, but observers say other regulatory tools such as closed formularies might control the opioid epidemic better as it relates to workers compensation.

Published online Monday by The Journal of the American Medical Association, a new study by researchers from the Baltimore-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says Florida’s prescription drug monitoring program and pill mill laws were associated with “modest reductions” in opioid prescribing and use — including declines of 1.4% in opioid prescriptions, 2.5% in opioid volume and 5.6% in morphine milligram equivalents, or dosage — one year after their 2010 implementation.

The study, “Effect of Florida’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and Pill Mill Laws on Opioid Prescribing and Use,” looked at 2.6 million patients, 431,890 prescribers and 2,829 pharmacies in Florida, the intervention state, and Georgia, the control state, between July 2010 and September 2012.

The study didn’t look at workers comp claims, but the reductions in opioid prescribing and use are comparable to the single-digit decreases “we’re seeing in (workers comp) pharmacy benefit management drug trend reports,” which address comp systems in all states, said Michael Gavin, Duluth, Georgia-based president of medical cost management company PRIUM. “It makes me wonder whether the Florida…

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