San Francisco mulling manufacturer-funded drug take-back program

October 24, 2014

San Francisco supervisors are considering an ordinance that would require drug manufacturers to pay for the disposal of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

San Francisco supervisors are considering an ordinance that would require drug manufacturers to pay for the disposal of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

If approved, San Francisco would be following in the footsteps of Alameda County, California-which recently became the first in the nation to require drug manufacturers to pay for a drug take-back program. Both the pharmaceutical industry and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce fiercely opposed the Alameda County ordinance.

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San Francisco Supervisor David Chiu recently introduced the ordinance before the city’s Board of Supervisors. Chiu said the legislation is intended to prevent overdoses and reduce contaminants in the water.

“We ought to see producer responsibility to address the problem when the residents don’t know what to do with unused and expired medications, which often end up in unintended hands or in public waterways,” Chiu told the San Francisco Chronicle.

 

California legislators defeated a proposal similar to Chiu’s. And San Francisco already has a drug take-back program, but it does not mandate participation by pharmaceutical companies.

However, Alameda County’s ability to create a drug take-back program that mandates manufacturer funding-and was upheld by a federal court-has numerous cities and counties looking to do the same.

The San Francisco ordinance would establish take-back sites at all retail and healthcare facilities that dispense drugs. It would require manufacturers that sell drugs in San Francisco to pay the program’s administrative and operational costs.