Producer Responsibility for Medicine
Voluntary take-back programs are collecting unwanted household medicines at some police stations and some pharmacies in Washington. But without long-term funding, they are stop-gap measures and they only serve a small percentage of the state population. Drug producers have been financing and operating medicine return programs at pharmacies in British Columbia for more than thirteen years, and are operating similar programs in other countries such as Italy, Spain and France. Why not here in Washington?
For the past few years, Zero Waste Washington has advocated for passage of a Secure Medicine Return bill. We want to see convenient collection and disposal of household medicines in Washington funded by the drug producers. The 2010 proposed legislation was sponsored by Representative Dawn Morrell and Senator Adam Kline. Unfortunately, this bill did not pass in 2010.
Here are some highlights from the 2010 bill, which employed a producer responsibility approach:
- Requires producers of prescription and over-the-counter medicines sold in Washington State to provide and pay for a statewide medicine return program in Washington.
- Covers return of all over-the-counter and prescription drugs, including narcotic and other legally prescribed controlled substances.
- Gives the WA State Board of Pharmacy authority to license the medicine return program and to ensure that the program is safe and secure.
- Convenient collection options would be provided in every county of the state and every city of more than 10,000 people.
- Collected medicines would be disposed of at a hazardous waste facility to ensure the highest level of protection.
- Does not require any money from the state or local governments. Drug producers would fund all costs.
Last Updated (Thursday, 12 August 2010 16:00)