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Drug companies sue Alameda County over drug take-back program

Prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs.
Mario Anzuoni-Pool/Getty Images

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Big Pharma is fighting back against an Alameda County law that would require drug companies to fund take-back programs. Advocates of the new law say that unused pharmaceuticals are dangerous:  prescription drugs can easily fall into the hands of young children or experimental teens. Proponents also cite drug motivated home invasions and improper disposal as hazards – drugs flushed down the toilet pollute waterways.

The new statue in Alameda County, which includes Berkeley and Oakland, requires pharmaceutical companies to help pay for the drug take-back programs and proper disposal. The requirements were put in place this past July and require companies to put a plan in place by July 2013. The Alameda take-back program is modeled on similar programs in other countries, but the American pharmaceutical industry is protesting – three major pharmaceutical representatives have already filed suit.

In what ways could a drug take-back program be beneficial? Who would get the most out of it? Is it fair to ask drug companies based in other states to set up take-back and disposal programs in California? 


Donna Ziegler, Alameda County Counsel