Can Governments Force Pharma to Fund Drug Disposal Programs?
Manufacturers increasingly need to think about "cradle to grave" expenses for products. A new example arises from drugs. Some people link drugs in water to various diseases. Therefore, some want better disposal of unused drugs – some of the facts are outlined in a brief article from Harvard online.
Now, in a next step, a federal judge this week upheld a statute requiring drug manufacturers to bear the expense of "take back" programs intended to replace sloppy disposal. The opinion is online, courtesy of AmLaw. An article from the Recorder explains:
"SAN FRANCISCO — Ruling over industry objections, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg is allowing Alameda County to move forward with a program that compels pharmaceutical companies to pay for the safe disposal of unused prescription drugs.
Last summer, the Alameda Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance — believed to be the first of its kind in the country — that requires companies that manufacture prescription drugs sold or distributed in the region to fund "take-back programs," sparing the county the expense.
A coalition of industry associations filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in December, arguing that the law burdened interstate commerce.
Drug companies would likely raise prices to fund the county initiative, forcing consumers nationwide to bankroll a program that only benefits Alameda County residents, lawyers at Jones Day had argued in a motion for summary judgment on behalf of the trade groups in Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America v. County of Alameda, 12-6203."