On July 25, the Alameda County, California, Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to require pharmaceutical companies whose products are sold in the County to pay for collection programs for unwanted medicines. “It’s a miracle and a long time coming” said Catherine Allin, Sr. Industrial Waste Inspecter for the City of Millbrae and Public Education Committee Chair.
The movement to have manufacturers pay for the end-of-life costs of their products is growing both among leading corporations and state and local governments in the United States. In Canada and other countries, an increasing number of companies already take responsibility for providing convenient collection of numerous unwanted products, including leftover medications. The problem with unwanted pharmaceuticals is that, without a safe and convenient collection program, there are significant risks of prescription drug abuse, accidental poisonings, aquatic impacts, and polluting of our nation’s waterways.