This week, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, along with the attorneys general of Ohio and Washington, led a coalition of 39 state and territory attorneys general calling on congressional leaders to promptly pass measures to help hold opiod manufacturers accountable for their role in the current opiod epidemic.

Fox urged lawmakers to pass to pass the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act and the Comprehensive Addiction Reform, Education, and Safety (CARES) Act.

“There’s been a law on the books for some time now that requires pharmaceutical companies who manufacture these opiod drugs to report any out of the ordinary orders that may come up from distributors or physicians who are ordering huge amounts of opiod-based drugs,” said Fox. “That’s a red flag that might indicate that there are some laws that are being broken or that someone is indiscriminately prescribing these drugs that can be so habit forming.”

Fox said he along with his fellow attorneys general have sent a letter to the Health, Education and Labor and the Judiciary Committee urging them to pass the CARES Act.

“One of the important things they will do is to raise the penalties and make it more of a problem in the pocketbooks of these pharmaceutical companies, and let the government know when someone is overprescribing these drugs,” he said.

The bills would increase the civil penalty from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation for negligence in reporting suspicious activity and double the criminal penalty to $500,000 for companies which willfully disregard or knowingly fail to keep proper reporting systems or fail to report suspicious activity.