NCCI Publishes Research on Prescription Drug Expenditures

Posted Date: September 26, 2013

Industry InformationResearch


With medical expenditures growing at a faster rate than indemnity benefits in workers compensation, NCCI periodically reexamines prescription drug (Rx) costs, which have been a significant driver of medical costs. NCCI has performed several studies on the use of prescription drugs in workers compensation.

Our initial report, published in 2003, showed that utilization (as opposed to price) increases were the driving force behind total per-claim workers compensation Rx cost increases. Several drugs, such as Actiq, Mobic, and OxyContin have shown significant changes in market share since 2003.

In our most recent study from 2011, NCCI demonstrated that increased physician dispensing is associated with increased drug costs per claim. (All of our previous prescription drug studies are available on


The major topics covered in this report are:
  • The countrywide share of WC medical costs due to prescription drugs
  • The impact of price and utilization changes on those costs
  • Prescribing patterns
  • Physician dispensing
  • Use of narcotics in WC

2013 Key Findings

  • Prescription costs per claim continue to grow
  • Utilization is a major driver of total cost changes
  • The share of Rx costs for physician-dispensed drugs continues to increase
  • Narcotics account for 25% of drug costs
  • More than 45% of narcotics costs are for drugs with Oxycodone HCL as an active ingredient