A worker gets injured and files a workers compensation claim. They then go to the doctor for treatment and are prescribed painkillers to help with the healing process. However, rather than simply prescribing the necessary amount of medication, they sell them more than they need. The result is that the doctor makes a profit, and the injured worker is left with a drug addiction.
“The law allows physicians in Illinois to both prescribe and dispense opoid medications to injured workers. They can do this at exorbitant markup rates, and the drugs are paid for by the workers’ compensation claim. In order to maximize their profits, research into the problem by the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute has shown that doctors often prescribe 3 times the required medication,” chastised Chicago work injury lawyer Neal B. Strom.
Under the current system, doctors make a considerable profit from their prescriptions, and their injured patients are left with drug addictions. This further exacerbates the impact of their injuries and can have a significantly detrimental impact on their health, quality of life, and ability to remain employed.
“In Illinois, workers whose physicians have prescribed repackaged opoid medications take 85% more time off of work. This increases the cost of treating an injured worker more than $22,000. Of course, that figure doesn’t take into account the long-term cost of drug treatment programs and rehabilitation that may be required. The current system adds insult to injury for workers who have become addicted to the opoids their physicians have legally prescribed,” remarked Chicago work injury lawyer Neal B. Strom.
Unless the rules are changed to deny physicians the ability to both prescribe and dispense medications, the problem will continue to worsen. Until then, injured workers in Illinois should carefully review their prescriptions and take only the medications they require to return to health.