Changes on the Way for North Carolina Workers Compensation
As the years go by and society gradually changes there is an inevitable change in law. Old laws aren’t as applicable, and new technology creates new situations that need to be covered in a legal document. When those laws can potentially affect millions of people, however, lawmakers need to take into account all the people under its umbrella. In the case of workers compensation, people injured at work need to know that the treatment they need for their injury or the financial support that helps keep them and their families living will still be protected.
There has been a lot of talk in the North Carolina Industrial Commissions about the reform of prescription drugs that are covered under the state’s workers compensation programs. According to the website for Environmental, Health, and Safety Today, there are two main points that the Commission is working towards. The first point is that they want to save on health spending by switching the brand name drugs they were prescribing to cheaper, generic and locally made medicine. The second point is in response to the ongoing opioid epidemic. They want to limit the number of people getting addicted to the drug and focus on prescribing different methods of pain relief. With roughly 180,000 prescriptions written over a three-year period between 2012 and 2015, the state could have saved $8.7 million by switching to generic brand medication. The Commission has created an Opioid Task Force earlier in 2017 to meet and brainstorm solutions to the problem caused by the epidemic and workers compensation medication claims. Hopefully, the money they could save by giving injured workers off-brand drugs could go to the Opioid Task Force. Across the country, there are over 2 million people with an opioid disorder. These 2 million come from an estimated 12.5 million people misusing prescriptions with a potential to develop a disorder. In 2015 alone over 33,000 people died from overdosing on these types of medication. The epidemic has cost the country almost 79 billion dollars in lost economic potential.
Wanting to save money on budgets is one thing, but when that means potentially giving people cheaper medication, then North Carolina needs to be careful. Until there are official studies showing that the generic drugs they want to push for are as good as the big name brand drugs I doubt it will become law. There were over 74,000 people who suffered from nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. Those people need the best treatment their employer and state can provide them.
While reform can keep laws current, sometimes it can be for profit rather than for people. There is a lot on North Carolina’s, and the whole country’s, plate right now. Instead of potentially giving people off-brand drugs they should invest in medicine to find better, non-addictive solutions to the problems that people experience.