To evaluate differences between physician-dispensed and non–physician-dispensed medication with regard to lost time, prescription volume, and pharmaceutical, medical, indemnity costs in the Illinois workers' compensation system.
We studied a sample of 6824 workers' compensation indemnity claims that were opened and closed between January 1, 2007, and December 31, 2012, by Accident Fund Holdings in the State of Illinois.
The number of prescriptions per claim and pharmaceutical, medical, and indemnity costs, as well as time out from work, were significantly higher in claims where a pharmaceutical was dispensed by the physician within 90 days of injury than in claims where physician dispensing did not occur. These differences persisted controlling for age, sex, attorney involvement, and injury complexity.
Physician dispensing is associated with higher costs and more lost time than pharmacy-dispensed medications in workers' compensation claims.