Added cost to pharmaceuticals?

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, April 4, 2013

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) is the author of SB 727, Medical Waste: Pharmaceutical Product Stewardship. As of January 2015, this bill would require pharmaceutical manufacturers in the state to band together to form a product stewardship organization to collect unused drugs and possibly controlled substances through retail (pharmacy) outlets. The product stewardship plan would have to be approved by CalRecycle and the producers would be responsible for all costs connected with the collection, recovery, public relations program, administration of the program as well as costs incurred by the State for administration and enforcement of the program. The bill would prohibit the producer from charging specified fees to recover the costs of its program. 

The product stewardship program must accept all unwanted products, except as specified, contact information for the individual or entity submitting the plan and for each producer participating in the program, and a description of the methods by which unwanted products will be collected in the state. This bill would require the preparation of a plan and submission of a written report to the department. CalRecycle would be required to administer any penalties under the bill.

This bill appears to be a program in search of a problem and will mean added bureaucracy and additional costs to the consumer. It is not against the law to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals in the trash.  We are unaware of any proof of lined landfills leaking (and they are all required to be lined). While there has been evidence of pharmaceuticals showing up in water, studies have shown that this is, by far, the result of human excretion. It appears to us that if the people of the state really want such a program, they should be made aware of the associated costs and provide an advance disposal fee. Unless significantly amended, CMTA will be in opposition to this bill.

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