News Feature | April 21, 2014

Proposed California State Drug-Disposal Law Scrapped

By Marcus Johnson

Last week, legislators killed the bill known as SB 1014 proposed by California state senator Hannah-Beth Jackson that would have required drug companies to create and finance a state-wide system for safely collecting and disposing of unwanted prescription drugs. The bill had amassed the support of more than 100 different local government and environmental groups, but it was fiercely opposed by the pharmaceutical industry. While the bill was proposed in order to reduce prescription drug abuse and keep pills from contaminating waterways, the pharmaceutical industry argued this bill would inflate drug costs and be “logistically complicated.”

Jackson spoke on the defeat of her legislation. “I always expected change of this magnitude to be a multiyear effort. I look forward to taking the next several months to determine how to best move forward with legislation next year that will create a statewide drug take-back program. Most of all, I look forward to the day when the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical industry steps up to take responsibility and joins us as a partner in tackling legislation that helps solve the statewide challenges created by unused prescription drugs.”

Jackson also said that she intends to introduce a new bill on the same subject next year. In the meantime, she plans to amend SB 1014 so that local governments can create their own drug take-back programs.

There are currently 300 to 400 drug disposal sites in the state of California already. However, many contend that that number is far too small for California’s population of 38 million, and that there needs to be a centrally operated program to make drug disposal easier and safer.