Florida doctors dispense medications to workers-compensation patients at one of highest rates in country


Doctors in Florida dispense medications to workers-compensation patients at one of the highest rates in the country, according to a study released by a Massachusetts-based group.

The study, by the Workers Compensation Research Institute, found that 62 percent of drug payments in Florida were for physician-dispensed medications, second-highest in the country behind Illinois. Also, it found that 45 percent of the drugs in the Florida workers-compensation system were dispensed by physicians, the second-highest rate behind California. The report looked at injury claims that occurred between Oct. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010, and prescriptions through March 31, 2011.

Physician dispensing of what are known as “repackaged” drugs has become a controversial issue in Florida, with business groups arguing that the practice drives up workers-compensation insurance costs. Backers of the practice, however, say patients are more likely to receive and take medications if they get them from physicians instead of filling prescriptions at pharmacies. The Workers Compensation Research Institute is a non-profit group that says it does not take positions on the issues it studies. Its board of directors is mostly made up of officials from insurance companies and large employers, according to the group’s website.

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this report.