Reports: Drug industry organizations sue Seattle-area county government over drug-disposal ordinance

King County, Wash., government sued in federal court

NEW YORK — Four drug industry trade groups are suing the board of health in King County, Wash., over a local health ordinance that they say shifts the burden of sustainable disposal of unwanted drugs onto drug companies, according to published reports.

The Seattle Times reported that the groups sued the board of health of King County, where Seattle is, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleging that a requirement that they provide safe-disposal containers to pharmacies and police stations violates the commerce clause of the Constitution. According to reports, the groups include the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

The program is one of several set up around the country as part of an effort to keep unused and expired drugs out of landfills and sewage systems, where, research has shown, they can contaminate soil and drinking water.

The King County policy was modeled on a similar one in Alameda County, Calif., that a federal court upheld, according to The Seattle Times.



- 12:22 PM says

Pharma cannot effectively comply nor absorb multitude regulations that are set up on a county-by-county basis. This is a very incorrect approach to tackling the ultimate end goal. The DEA has already established annual / bi-annual national take-back programs, which Pharma ultimately pays for through various federal and state fees. A more sane approach would be to involve community hospitals, non-acute care clinics, physician offices, and retail pharmacies as sites for take-back programs. The destruction services should be provided by the municipalities or counties and the expenses associated with this could be added to propertay tax or water bills, similar to how recyling is managed today. The end-user patient must take some responsibility in this matter, as we know that lack of patient prescription compliance is the biggest contributor to excess medication in home medicine cabinets. If these county-by-county regulations are allowed to become law, the patient will end up absorbing the costs associated with this one way or the other. Why not do it right and help to improve overall compliance, mitigate additional healthcare costs, and allow the actual health-care providers to become actively involved in the solution.

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