In an effort to help New Yorkers more easily dispose of unwanted or expired medications, the New York State Senate approved two bills co-sponsored by NYS Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. to provide more public information about disposal programs and require manufacturers to take back drugs from consumers without charge.
“Many of my constituents have complained about the difficulties of clearing out their medicine cabinets and having safe and responsible options for disposing of unwanted prescription and non-prescription drugs,” said Addabbo. “No one really wants to flush them down the drain and have these drugs seep into our water sources and overall environment. Having truly convenient avenues to get unwanted medications out of our homes would be a great help to environmentally-responsible consumers, and would also address the opioid epidemic by reducing access to narcotics in the home.”
The first bill co-sponsored by Addabbo (S.6673) would require the State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation to create a statewide website listing of existing drug disposal sites, events and other options for safe disposal. The list would be searchable by zip code and be made available on both of the agency’s websites.
“With the click of a mouse, consumers would be able to look for voluntary pharmacy drop off programs, law enforcement collection sites, and learn about safe drug disposal events being held by municipalities and community groups,” said Addabbo, who is a member of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.
The second bill (S.7354) would require pharmaceutical manufacturers to create a drug take-back program to enable consumers to return or recycle their unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. Chain pharmacies (with ten or more locations) would need to offer on-site collection receptacles or mail-back collection opportunities with pre-paid envelopes.
“The Legislature approved similar legislation last year to implement a take-back program at chain pharmacies, but it was vetoed by the Governor,” Addabbo explained. “The Governor didn’t want consumers or pharmacies to shoulder the cost of returning the drugs. By ensuring that manufacturers will assume the expense, we may be closer to having a program of this type signed into law.”
Having passed the Senate, the bills will be considered by the Assembly Committee on Health.