Drug manufacturers must pay to dispose of unused and unexpired medications in Alameda County, California, a federal appeals court ruled this week. The decision upheld a lower-court ruling.
Alameda County passed an ordinance in 2012 to establish a drug take-back program. The county said the measure is the first in the nation to require drug makers to set up a program to dispose of expired and unused medications. County officials said the annual cost of the program will be about $330,000, according to The Wall Street Journal. The industry trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, estimates the program would cost drug makers about $1.2 million.
The county wants to reduce contaminants in drinking water by giving people an alternative to flushing their medications down the toilet. Officials also hope the measure will reduce prescription drug abuse by reducing the amount of medication in home medicine cabinets.