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Rx for Action

A blog devoted to helping people find local medicine take-back programs and highlighting current research findings and pending legislation.

What's new in unwanted medicine legislation?

There has been some movement in state houses throughout the country since our last update on pharmaceutical legislation. Most of the bills we showcased last year are still slated for committee hearings. But one was signed into law and some new legislation has been put forward that would impact the long-term management of these chemicals. Here's a quick look at the legislative landscape in the New Year. And check back here next week to learn where things stand in personal care product legislation.

Last summer, lawmakers in Maine approved amendments to the state's Unused Pharmaceutical Disposal Program removing some of the restrictions on state funding for collection programs. Prior to this change, the state could only provide financial support to mail-back programs, leaving local law enforcement agencies to cover the full costs of over 50 drop box programs across the state. The amended law does not guarantee funding, but it does ensure that all programs are eligible to receive state dollars. The Maine Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force recommended the amendments in hopes that it will reduce the cost of proper disposal in a state that collects tens of thousands of pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals each year.

In Delaware, lawmakers introduced and approved changes to the state's hospice regulations. Signed into law on July 3, 2013, the changes require the state health department to establish and implement consistent protocols for safely disposing of pharmaceuticals left after the death of discharge of an in-home patient. The law went into effect earlier this month.

A bill that would allow Wisconsin cities and counties to establish drug disposal programs is also quickly making its way through the system. First introduced last October, AB 448 would also allow non-governmental groups to establish collection programs as long as they receive authorization from the federal Department of Justice. Cities and counties would be allowed to contract with DOJ-approved organizations to manage local collection programs. AB 448 was approved by the Wisconsin Assembly last week and is awaiting review in the Senate Health and Human Services committee.

Here are some additional pharmaceutical bills we are watching:

Federal: SB1089 would require the Department of Defense and the Attorney General to create a collection program for members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and their dependents.

Illinois: HB1343 and HB0072 would allow licensed pharmacies to collect unused or expired prescription medication.

Massachusetts: S399 would regulate the discharge of pharmaceutical and personal care product-laden wastewater into drinking water supplies.

H825 would allow collection centers for hazardous household products to accept prescription medication.

H1977 would establish a state mail-back program.

H2033 would remove existing restrictions on patients' ability to drop-off medications at licensed pharmacies for disposal.

H2081 would require the state agency in charge of licensing pharmacies to establish a cancer drug collection program that health care facilities could participate in.

New York: A00228 would allow pharmacies to collect pharmaceuticals.

A01584 and S00642 would require drug manufacturers to dispose of unused and expired medicines from hospitals and residential health care facilities.

A01609 would require the state environmental agency to post guidelines for holding a one-day collection event on their website.

A05465 and S03985 would require the state police to establish a pilot collection program.

A05610 would require drug manufacturers to establish collection programs and would limit the disposal of pharmaceuticals to manufacturer-led programs only.

Pennsylvania: HB1194 would require pharmaceutical retailers to collect pharmaceuticals for proper disposal.

West Virginia: HB2113 would require the state health agency to establish a two-year pilot mail-back program.

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Posted by Anjanette Riley at 10:16AM on 1/29/2014
Categories: Legislation