Long-term opioid prescribing after compensable orthopaedic injury may contribute to the ‘long right tail’ in the cost of recovery. The aim of this study was to estimate the effect of prescription opioid uptake on injury compensation cost, using orthopaedic road traffic injury claims data from Victoria, Australia. We used a maximum likelihood estimation that accounts for potential endogeneity associated with opioid uptake, utilizing information on the doctor's differential propensity to prescribe opioids when treating other compensable injury patients. Our results suggest that opioid recipients incurred significantly greater hospital costs, income compensation payments, and medical and paramedical expenses. Overall, income compensation was the primary driver of the claim cost difference between opioid recipients and non-recipients. The findings imply that there is scope to impose restrictions on long-term opioid usage, and to encourage the use of alternative pain relief medicines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health