Illinois is working through a regulatory change that would cap the price of repackaged drugs at AWP + a dispensing fee. As I've previously argued, this is the right way to go about changing the practice of physician dispensing. By eliminating the financial incentive to dispense medications, but maintaining the physician's right to do so for the rare cases where an injured worker may truly benefit from getting scripts in the office, the state leaves all stakeholders with the right mix of incentives.
What's unique about Illinois, however, are the two votes that took place within the last few days. The Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission voted 9-1 to move ahead with revisions to drug repackaging rules in the state, despite a 4-3 vote from the medical advisory board NOT to proceed.
At the risk of appearing dramatic, I view this relatively small procedural victory as a potential tipping point in the legislative/regulatory landscape around drug repackaging and physician dispensing. Predictably, the insurance and employer community likes the new rule while the physician community is opposed. But in this case, the physician community said "no" and the WCC moved forward anyway. They did so because the evidence, data, and logic tells them this is the right thing to do.
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