September 10, 2014
The Washington-based agency’s final rule implements the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which authorizes the DEA to develop and enact regulations that outline methods to transfer unused pharmaceutical controlled substances to authorized collectors for disposal, the agency said in a news release. The act also permits long-term-care facilities to do the same on behalf of residents or former residents of their facilities.
The final rule will take effect Oct. 9. The act aims to curtail prescription drug abuse.
The Boston-based Product Stewardship Institute (PSI) supports the rule, which it said in a news release will allow retail pharmacies, manufacturers, drug distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy to volunteer to collect medications like Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet.
“Now everyone can easily play a part in reducing the availability of these potentially dangerous drugs,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.
However, PSI expressed concern about the need for sustainable financing of these collection options, urging pharmaceutical manufacturers to take responsibility for these costs.
"The DEA rule is a significant step toward providing more Americans with convenient access to safe, secure and environmentally responsible pharmaceutical collection sites for all of their unwanted medicines, and even increasing business opportunities for retail pharmacies," said Scott Cassel, PSI CEO. "But the next step that's needed is for the pharmaceutical industry to step up and cover the costs of collection and ultimate disposal of their products."
While many public and private sector groups have helped developed effective medicine take-back programs, the pharmaceutical industry has been unresponsive, Cassel said. A producer responsibility approach would not only alleviate the financial burden on governments and taxpayers, but it also would help prevent accidental drug overdoses, prescription drug abuse and environmental contamination, he said.