Are Medications Overpriced on Workers Compensation?

By Peter DePaolis

Our Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Injury Attorneys Explain the Costs

In states such as Maryland, medications dispensed by doctors to patients on workers compensation can come with price markups of around 600 to 800 percent. This affects those working for private employees and government entities, and some state governments are now refusing to pay for overpriced medication. This may have a serious effect on employers and those seeking workers compensation, and workers and businesses alike should be aware of the higher rates of medication prescribed by doctors.

Why are Medications Overpriced on Workers Compensation?

Drug manufacturers promote a system called “repackaging,” in which these companies sell medications in bulk quantities and package them for doctors to dispense directly to patients. Doctors and those who repackage the medications collect their own fees, which drastically increase the cost. These companies often target workers compensation cases for the repackaging. One company states that this is because workers compensation prescriptions are easier and more financially beneficial for doctors to dispense.

Many doctors claim that repackaging speeds up treatment and gives injured workers better access to medications. However, the cost is passed on to employers. The process may also affect taxpayers, since government entities need to pay for expensive medication if their employees become sick or injured.

Will Medication Prices Affect Workers Compensation?

Numerous employers are simply sending doctor bills back and refusing to pay them with marked-up prices. Insurance providers and local governments in Maryland claim they saved over $1 million per year by doing this. However, some governments have now been ordered by the courts to pay the amounts they owe doctors.

Under workers compensation law, employers must provide medical payments for those injured on the job. However, many employers and insurance providers challenge claims to avoid providing benefits. This could make attaining workers compensation more difficult for many employees, and some may need to file workers compensation appeals to receive their benefits.

State governments have attempted to limit the ability of physicians to dispense drugs or outright do away with the practice. If these laws are passed, though, physicians may see this as limiting their ability to provide convenient treatment for their patients. Fewer doctors may want to participate in workers compensation programs. Medical providers claim they are willing to negotiate a fee or establish a fee structure for employers and insurance providers. No matter what happens, this could have a significant impact on workers compensation.

What Can I do if My Employer Denied My Workers Compensation Claim?

If your employer participates in a workers compensation program, you must receive compensation for your medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages and other potential benefits for an injury you suffer at work. Our Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland injury lawyers can fight for the benefits you deserve. We have significant experience with workers compensation cases, so call our office today for free attorney advice about your workers compensation case.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.