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    Billings Gazette: Montana lawmakers have twice rejected prescription monitoring

    The Billings Gazette reports that the Montana legislature has rejected the creation of a prescription monitoring database for the second time in two years by tabling House Bill 267.

    In 2007, the Montana Board of Crime Control received a $50,000 federal grant to plan a monitoring program. It missed out on another $400,000 available to the state to build a database after legislation failed that same year.

    Under the 2009 measure, data about controlled prescription drugs from approximately 249 in-state pharmacies and 280 mail-order pharmacies would have been uploaded on a weekly basis into a database managed by the state Board of Pharmacy. Pharmacists, doctors and law enforcement personnel holding a search warrant could have used the system, which also would have automatically flagged those filling a suspicious amount of painkiller prescriptions.

    “There would be a threshold for law enforcement to access the system,” Yamamoto said. “It’s not something they could just go fishing in.” […]

    In the end, most of the lawmakers on the committee said they were still concerned the database would undermine privacy rights, while others said the legislation would do little to actually curb prescription drug abuse.

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