MTPR

Montana Medical Association

Bill Asks For Transparency In Prescription Drug Prices

Mar 27, 2019
Prescription drugs. Stock photo.
iStock

HELENA -- As the cost of prescription drugs continues to rise, one bill moving through the Montana Legislature would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide information on why the price of a drug has increased.

Bill Aims To Protect Pregnant Women Seeking Addiction Treatment

Mar 19, 2019
Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is carrying Senate Bill 289, and says pregnant women are less likely to to seek treatment for addiction if there is a “threat of being charged with drug possession.”
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service


In 2017, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that approximately 100 babies every year experience drug withdrawal in Montana.

Now, in an effort to lower that number, lawmakers are considering a bill to help pregnant women with addictions.

Proposed E-Cig Tax Draws Opposition

Jan 22, 2019
Senate Bill 96 proposes a 50-percent tax on vaping products.
iStock

HELENA — Opponents are lining up against a proposed 50-percent tax on vaping products.

Twelve people testified against Senate Bill 96 on Tuesday. They argued e-cigarettes have nicotine, but they don’t have tobacco and shouldn’t be taxed like tobacco. Robert Story, executive director of the Montana Taxpayers Association, said taxing vapes is just putting a sales tax onto a specific retail item.

Kristin Page-Nei, one of the authors of I-185, speaks in support of the initiative in Helena, April 19, 2018. The ballot initiative proposes increasing tobacco taxes to raise money for health care programs, including Medicaid expansion.
Corin-Cates Carney

Montana’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides more than 93,000 people in the state health coverage, expires in just over a year. Campaigns are now underway to stop that from happening and to lobby support for the health care program.

Amanda Reese with a naloxone kit. Reese works at Missoula’s Open Aid Alliance, which operates a needle exchange and other health services.
Edward O'Brien

A lifesaving drug that can reverse opioid overdoses is now more widely available in Montana. State health officials today highlighted that, thanks to a new law that went into effect in October.

The law, passed this spring with unanimous support, makes it possible for nearly anyone to get a prescription for the medication, called naloxone. That includes friends and family members of a person at risk of overdose, first responders, and other organizations like needle exchanges.

Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, MT.
Eric Whitney

Nurses, hospitals and other health care providers are holding a public forum on the proposed Senate health care bill Thursday, July 6 in Helena. It’s being put on by the Montana Nurses Association.

(PD)

There's a new effort underway in the state to better connect hospitals, doctors' offices and other health care providers. Like, through the internet. That's not really happening much now, and it's frustrating to doctors like Michael Vlases with Bozeman Health:

At a meeting convened by the Montana Medical Association, a health information technology expert from Oklahoma talked about how his state created a system to easily share patient data.
Eric Whitney

A lot of the major players in health care in Montana got together today to work on sharing patient data digitally.

At a meeting convened by the Montana Medical Association, a health information technology expert from Oklahoma talked about how his state created a system to easily share patient data. That isn't happening much in Montana because privacy laws forbid simply emailing health records, among many other reasons.

Bob Mason and his dog Sophie.
courtesy

When Bob Mason decided to end his life with a self-inflicted gunshot, his pain helped him pull the trigger.

Mason died in January. He was 67 years old. His daughter, Shane Mieski, says her father had been without pain-killing drugs for about a week when he died.

Kathy Snook, Terri Anderson and Gary Snook waiting in Dr. Forest Tennant’s office in West Covina, California.
Corin Cates-Carney

Over the past two decades, the rate of overdose deaths from prescription painkillers known as opioids has quadrupled in the United States. Federal authorities say 78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Health care officials in Montana report that the abuse here is worse than the national average. But the casualties of the opioid epidemic are not all addicts and drug abusers.

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