Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Senator Tom McGillvray, R-Billings, has introduced a bill intended to help address access to prescription medications, especially in rural parts of the state where healthcare providers are not easily accessible.  

McGillvray said Senate Bill 112 would allow pharmacists to prescribe some medications to patients, but the bill does contain restrictions on what types of drugs pharmacists may prescribe. For example, a patient must be within the pharmacist’s scope of practice and not require a new diagnosis. 

“You don’t have to go to the doctor for the simple things like that,” McGillvray said. “You can go straight to the pharmacist, get a quick test for strep or whatever it is, these simple tests where there is very rarely an erroneous result, and then get the medicine you need and be done. Save yourself three of four hundred bucks, time, and frustration. That is really what this bill is all about.” 

McGillvray said this bill would allow physicians to spend more time on complex and serious issues and believes this bill will be well received. 

“Our job is about helping our people and our constituents have access to healthcare in multiple ways,” McGillvray said. “Ways that are simple, ways that are inexpensive, ways that give them more choices, and ways that give them more money. I think our constituents are clearly in favor of this kind of thing. You may have pushback from the Montana Medical Association where they are protecting turf, but the average Montanan wants to keep it simple, do what is best for them, and give them the choice to decide.” 

According to McGillvray, Idaho adopted a similar measure in 2019. Research has indicated that “nearly three more individuals per pharmacist received time-sensitive care, potentially avoiding detrimental or expensive alternatives” in Idaho following that reform.   

“The bill that I am carrying is very similar to what they do in Idaho,” McGillvray said. “The doctors like it there, the health insurance companies like it there, pharmacists like it there, and people like it there. It saves time and money, and it is a more efficient process.” 

McGillvray also mentioned that the bill does not allow pharmacists to prescribe any controlled substances.

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