Opioid overdoses are spiking amid the pandemic - PBMs can help combat opioid abuse and misuse
- Nov 24, 2020
- Pharmacy Benefit Management
Since the start of the pandemic, data shows a concerning spike in opioid mortality rates across the country, with 40 states reporting increases. With the heightened uncertainty brought on by a pandemic, patients are facing new emotional, financial and social stressors that contribute to a spike in opioid overdoses. The increased reports of opioid abuse and misuse can also be attributed to pandemic-related barriers to health care, such as limited access to treatment facilities, lack of coverage and high cost for non-opioid pain treatments, insufficient access to telehealth, and prolonged opioid dependency with postponed elective surgeries.
For employers, the opioid epidemic leads to a ripple effect of economic and health concerns. While total costs from opioid abuse and misuse are estimated at $78.5 billion annually, a large, self-insured employer could spend an additional $14,810 for each covered employee who abuses opioids.
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