Brand name and generic drug companies have teamed up to oppose a California law that requires them to run and fund a program which would allow consumers to dispose unused medicines, The New York Times reports.
Currently, drug take-back programs are run by local or other government agencies. Their goal is to collect unused medicines and alleviate prescription drug abuse by teenagers. However, that may soon change after a new ordinance that forces drug companies to shoulder such responsibility was approved in Alameda County, California, which includes Oakland and Berkeley.
Supporters of the law agree that the measure will give people the right avenue to dispose leftover medicines that could land to the hands of children and teenagers who would experiment with them.
“We feel the industry that profits from the sales of these products should have the financial responsibility for proper management and disposal,” said Miriam Gordon, California director of Clean Water Action, an advocacy group.
However, the industry isn’t going to just take the initiative sitting down. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) plans to file a lawsuit in United States District Court in Oakland on Friday.
PhRMA represents brand-name drug companies, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. James M. Spears, general counsel of PhRMA, said the Alameda ordinance violated the Constitution because a local government was interfering with interstate commerce, a right reserved for Congress.
“They are telling a company in New Jersey that you have to come in and design and implement and pay for a municipal service in California,” Spears said in an interview. “This program is one where the cost is shifted to companies and individuals who are not located in Alameda County and who won’t be served by it.”
PhRMA also argues that take-back programs aren’t the most effectively solution in ending the problem of drug abuse.