The Business Council opposes S.5717 (Hannon)/ A.387 (Gunther), which would mandate “chain pharmacies” to operate disposal sites for unused controlled substances. The bill defines “chain pharmacy” as “any pharmacy that is part of a group of four or more establishments that: (a) conduct business under the same business name, or (b) operate under common ownership or management pursuant to a franchise agreement with the same franchisor, operating in the state.”
Since 2014, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has provided a number of options for consumer disposal of unused controlled substances. Under DEA regulations, entities which are DEA registered and authorized, may voluntarily establish programs for safe disposal of controlled substances. The DEA, recognizing the diversity of circumstances and needs among participants, allows for a variety of programs including mail-back, take-back events, as well as collection bins. Late last year, New York, through legislation, began allowing the collection of controlled substances for disposal.
By mandating the operation of “safe disposal sites” in each pharmacy, this bill does not recognize the inherent differences in different locales. In some cases, there may be safety concerns and in others there may be unnecessary and costly duplication of effort. In a voluntary program, pharmacies have the ability to determine how to most safely, efficiently and effectively to provide take back initiatives.
The Business Council recognizes that the disposal of superfluous pharmaceutical products is an important issue and is encouraged by the vast participation in the DEA’s voluntary take back program among pharmacies across the state – the voluntary program is working. Mandating a one-size-fits-all program to pharmacies across this diverse state will not lead to better results and is thus not good policy. Lawmakers should be looking for ways to enhance the current program without creating new costly mandates.
For these reasons, the Business Council respectfully opposes S.5717 (Hannon)/ A.387 (Gunther).