DEA proposes drug take-back rule

January 21, 2013

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed a rule that would finally make it legal for pharmacy retailers to collect and dispose of customers’ unwanted prescription medications.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has proposed a rule that would finally make it legal for pharmacy retailers to collect and dispose of customers’ unwanted prescription medications.

The industry has until February 19, 2013, to submit comments on DEA’s proposed rule “The Disposal of Controlled Substances” (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-12-21/pdf/2012-30699.pdf), which was published in the Federal Register in late December.

The proposed rule would allow retail pharmacies, manufacturers, distributors, and reverse distributors to voluntarily administer take-back events, conduct mail-back programs, and have collection-box locations at long-term-care facilities. “In the past, pharmacies could not take back your old medications. This proposed rule allows them to,” said Barbara Carreno, a spokesperson for DEA.

In addition, “Anyone who does a mail-back program has to be able to dispose of what they collect, on site. For example, your average police department would not be able to dispose of what they collect on site,” she added.

In the past, pharmacies involved in DEA’s Dispose My Meds program have offered postage-prepaid envelopes for patients to drop their medications into; items received were mailed back to the incineration facility.

While officials with the National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) are still reviewing the proposed rule, NCPA’s Professional Affairs Director Carolyn Ha said, “The DEA maintains this as a voluntary program, which is the type of model we have supported.”

To comment on the proposed rule, visit www.regulations.gov or mail comments to DEA, Attention: DEA Office of Diversion Control (OD/ DX), 8701 Morrissette Drive, Springfield, VA 22152.