A new study shows that injured workers who are receiving prescription medication directly from their physician are a much more common scenario than workers who use pharmacies for prescription drug purchases.


While the convenience of having necessary medicine dispensed by your doctor may be a good idea for some injured workers, the reality is that cost of doctor-dispensed pills is much more expensive for employers. The Workers Compensation Research Institute has found that doctors typically charge higher prices for medications than pharmacies do in many cases.


Research conducted by the Institute found one prescription drug example where costs were significantly higher. The price of Vicodin tablets quadrupled when patients received them directly from their doctor. An average cost of a Vicodin tablet at the pharmacy ranged around 36-cents for each pill compared to a $1.48 per pill price tag at a physician’s office.


The Institutes study included workers compensation prescriptions for 23 states in the US where 5.7 million prescriptions were paid out of the workers comp system. Additional data learned from the study included the tendency for doctor-disbursed prescription increased over time while the prices for pharmacy prescriptions often fell for certain medications more often given out by doctors in-office.