For almost two decades, opioids have plagued the United States. Over 17,000 individuals died of a prescription opioid overdose in 2017. More than 200,000 people have died in the US from prescription opioid overdoses in the past twenty years, making them a leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
Insurance payers, claims professionals, pharmacy benefit managers and employers have all fought long and hard to increase awareness of this problem and work with physicians to find safer alternatives to these dangerous drugs. As a result of increased awareness, education, prescribing guidelines and risk mitigation initiatives, the overall use of opioid prescriptions in the US has declined since 2012.
Together with our PBM partner, Optum, Crawford’s Global TPA, Broadspire, has instituted many medical management and opioid reduction programs to prevent opioid misuse and protect injured workers from potential adverse effects. These programs include a managed first-opioid-fill strategy, a constantly-evolving formulary design, thorough pharmacy reviews, and our exclusive Comprehensive Assessment and Management of Pain (CAMP) program. Between 2017 and 2018, these combined efforts helped us exceed industry benchmarks as shown below.
While the mission to control the opioid epidemic will require a sustained effort by multiple parties, the utilization data is moving in a positive direction. The downward trends we see for our own clients, as well as across the industry, are encouraging. By working closely with Optum, we are effectively reversing the trend of high-cost misuse and abuse situations and safely restoring the lives of injured workers.