Myth Busters: Physician Dispensing Edition
Some physicians argue that providing medications in-office benefits the patient. But the impact of this practice on workers’ compensation patient outcomes – and ultimately costs – tells a very different story.
Physician dispensing improves patient adherence to medication, improving medical outcomes
Physician dispensing is associated with poorer clinical outcomes and more lost time
LOST TIME INCREASES WITH PHYSICIAN-DISPENSED DRUGS1,2
Physician dispensing ensures closer patient monitoring, improving patient safety
Physician dispensing removes the safeguard of having licensed pharmacists act as a second line of defense to identify drug therapy risks such as:
- Drug-drug and drug-disease interactions
- Therapeutic duplication
- Inappropriate therapy or dosing
Prices for physician-dispensed medications are equivalent to pharmacy-dispensed medications
>90% of prescribers perceive their prices are equivalent to or lower than pharmacies.4 In reality, prices paid for physician-dispensed medications are often 60-300% higher for the same drugs dispensed by a retail pharmacy5
4 Reasons to Implement an Aggressive Physician-Dispensing Management Solution
- REDUCE PATIENT SAFETY RISKS: Healthesystems data shows top physician-dispensed drug classes include opioid analgesics, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, dermatologicals/topicals, and anti-ulcer medications. Many of these medications pose risk to the injured worker and are linked to poorer outcomes.
- REDUCE COSTS: Not only are direct costs of physician-dispensed medications significant, but they increase overall medical costs. A study of workers’ comp claims in Illinois found that medical costs were 39% higher in claims with physician-dispensed medications.2
- OPTIMIZE DRUG REGIMEN: Medications processed through a retail pharmacy ensures a pharmacist can perform a drug utilization review for clinical appropriateness and potential drug-drug interactions.
- SUPPLEMENT STATE REFORMS: While state reforms are a part of the solution and have demonstrated some success, analyses show that physician-dispensing patterns tend to shift in reaction to these reforms,limiting the ability of reforms to control costs over the long-term.