Friday, August 30, 2013
August 29, 2013-- A federal court judge in California ruled today against the pharmaceutical industry and in favor of Alameda County, California, effectively allowing the county's Safe Drug Disposal ordinance to go into effect this November, as originally intended.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures Association of America (PhRMA), the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization filed suit against Alameda County in December 2012 -- five months after county leaders voted to pass the ordinance, which requires pharmaceutical manufactures to fund and operate a county-wide medicine take-back program. PhRMA claimed that the ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids state and local governments from enacting regulations that "unduly interfere with interstate commerce."
In today's ruling, U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg wrote that the ordinance "does not discriminate against out-of-state actors in favor of local persons or entities, and does not otherwise impermissibly burden interstate commerce," noting that "the happenstance that most producers of prescription drugs are located outside Alameda County is insufficient to transform what is fundamentally a local measure into one that could be found to burden interstate commerce impermissibly." The judge concluded by adding that "the ordinance serves a legitimate public health and safety interest, and...the relatively modest compliance costs producers will incur should they choose to sell their products in the county do not unduly burden interstate commerce."
It is expected that PhRMA will appeal the ruling.
To read the ruling in its entirety, click here.