Texas’ Closed Formulary Is Lowering Workers’ Comp Costs

TDI’s recent analysis shows that the Texas pharmacy closed formulary is lowering costs and reducing the use of opioids in the workers’ compensation system. “Other states are interested in the success we’re having in Texas,” said the workers’ compensation commissioner. “We’re hopeful the closed formulary will continue to be a meaningful tool to reduce costs and decrease the use of drugs that may affect an employee’s ability to return to work.” Texas’ closed formulary requires prior approval before a doctor can prescribe certain drugs, also known as N drugs. These include 25 brands of opioid pain relievers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and cannabinoids. TDI’s analysis of pharmacy data before and after the closed formulary went into effect found that total drug costs fell 15%, costs for drugs that are not recommended (so called N drugs) fell by 80%, prescriptions for opioids on the N-drug list dropped 81%  and the use of other opioids fell by 8%.

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