ALBANY — Pharmaceutical companies would have to collect unused prescription drugs and dispose of them under a bill proposed by two state lawmakers.
The “Drug Take Back Act” would also require chain and mail-order pharmacies to provide consumers with on-site collection points, prepaid mail-back envelopes and other federally approved methods to dispose of drugs.
“Due to the fact that some drug addictions are first supplied by leftover medication a family member or friend did not use, cutting off that supply is essential,” said State Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau County), who sponsored the measure with Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-Chemung County).
The bill would also prevent contamination of water supplies, they said.
Under the legislation, pharmaceutical companies would be required to devise and operate drug collection programs that were approved by the state Health Department.
Drug manufacturers would be responsible for all costs, including public education efforts.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America blasted the bill.
“Implementing new and costly mandated take-back programs are not the solution to proper medicine disposal and will not address prescription drug abuse,” said PhRMA Vice President Priscilla VanderVeer, who argued that take-back kiosks would become an attractive target for thieves.
“Instead of implementing a flawed program, we urge New York to consider meaningful, measurable and comprehensive mechanisms to educate consumers on how to safeguard medicines in the home, how to ensure patients are taking their medicines as prescribed — thereby significantly mitigating unused medicines in the first place — and how to safely and securely dispose of their unused medicines in the household trash, which is widely accepted by national government agencies as a safe and secure method for consumers to dispose of their unused medicines,” VanderVeer said.
A spokesman for Gov. Cuomo said the governor was open to the legislation.
“We’ll entertain any legislation that helps our fight against the opioid epidemic and this bill will be reviewed in that context,” said Cuomo spokesman Rich Azzopardi.