Landmark Drug Disposal Law a Victory for Pharmacies

New legislation allowing for the safe disposal of controlled substances earned support from chain pharmacy leaders.

A new law enabling state and private entities to establish prescription drug take-back programs will not negatively impact pharmacies, the National Association of Drug Stores (NACDS) announced last week.

Steven C. Anderson, IOM, CAE, president and CEO of NACDS, thanked lawmakers for demonstrating “a commitment to addressing the issue of drug disposal in a way that will not create new problems for public health and safety.”

The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, signed into law on Tuesday, October 12, will pave the way for stable programs to provide safe, effective channels for the disposal of controlled substances. “Importantly, and consistent with NACDS’ urging, the bill prevents the mandating of drug take-back programs in pharmacies,” NACDS noted.

The legislation was long awaited. Previously, patients were forced to rely on intermittent drug take-back days return expired or unwanted prescription medications. In a recent nationwide event organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), patients turned in a total of 121 tons of medicine.

The agency expects to initiate more take-back events as the details of the new law ironed out. DEA officials will also focus on regulatory issues to smooth the implementation going forward. “The DEA will now work diligently to develop regulations that will allow people to dispose of their prescription medications in a responsible and safe manner, not just on one day, but every day,” said Michele M. Leonhart, DEA’s acting administrator.

For other articles in this issue, see:

  • Patient Letter Sheds Light on Attitudes About Pharmacists
  • Improved Adverse Event Reporting a Side Effect of EHRs
  • New Flu Season Especially Dangerous for Seniors