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Board of Supervisors
1221 Oak Street – Oakland, CA 94612
For Immediate Release
October 1, 2014
Contact: Kamika Dunlap
(510) 272-3691
Press Conference Announcement
NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS RULES IN FAVOR OF
ALAMEDA COUNTY SAFE DRUG DISPOSAL ORDINANCE
County of Alameda to call on pharmaceutical industry to help
make the take-back program a success
WHAT:
The U.S. 9th U.S. 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld Alameda County’s
Safe Drug Disposal Ordinance, which was passed in 2012. The ordinance is the
first in the nation to require drug manufacturers to be responsible for disposal
costs.
The lawsuit, filed by trade associations representing the manufacturers and
distributors of pharmaceutical products, argued that the ordinance violated the
dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution as it interfered with interstate
commerce. In a 3-0 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth
Circuit denied the appeal saying that the Alameda County Ordinance “neither
discriminates against nor directly regulates interstate commerce.” This ruling
opens the doors for other jurisdictions to follow suit.
Today, the County of Alameda and other leaders are calling on the
pharmaceutical industry to work hand in hand to make the take-back program a
success in Alameda County. Joining together, a model program can be created
that can be put into action throughout the country.
WHEN:
Thursday, October 2, 2014
10:00 a.m.
WHERE:
1221 Oak Street
Oakland, CA 94612
WHO:
Keith Carson, President, Alameda County Board
Nate Miley, Alameda County Supervisor, District 4
Donna Ziegler, Alameda County Counsel
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director, California Product Stewardship Council
Board of Supervisors
1221 Oak Street – Oakland, CA 94612
For Immediate Release
October 1, 2014
Contact: Kamika Dunlap
(510) 272-3691
ALAMEDA COUNTY APPLAUDS 9TH CIRCUIT FOR UPHOLDING
ITS SAFE DRUG DISPOSAL ORDINANCE
(Oakland, CA) –The U.S. 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals upheld an Alameda County ordinance passed in
July 2012 requiring drug producers who sell, offer to sell or distribute prescription drugs in Alameda County to
collect and safely dispose of the county’s unwanted prescription medications. The ordinance is the first in the
nation to require drug manufacturers to be responsible for disposal costs. The lawsuit, filed by trade
associations representing the manufacturers and distributors of pharmaceutical products, argued that the
ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution as it interfered with interstate
commerce. In a 3-0 ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the appeal saying
that the Alameda County Ordinance “neither discriminates against nor directly regulates interstate commerce.”
“Today’s decision was the right decision. We believe our Safe Disposal Drug Ordinance is fair and will set a
national precedent as a new policy tool for local governments to protect public health and the environment,”
said Nate Miley, Alameda County Supervisor, District 4. “We have led the charge and it is my hope that the
pharmaceutical industry will embrace this ruling and join us in keeping unwanted medications from causing
harm such as accidental poisoning, abuse by children and teens, or ending up in our waterways.”
In a letter dated July 23, 2012 in support of the Alameda Ordinance, Robert Kennedy, Senior Attorney for the
Natural Resources Defense Council and Board Chairman for Recycling Reinvented stated, “I am a firm
supporter of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as a policy approach that can reduce waste and improve
water quality while protecting public and environmental health…safe disposal of pharmaceuticals should be a
shared responsibility. The Alameda County Safe Medication Disposal Ordinance is built on an EPR model that
will provide safe and convenient options for disposal of unused drugs to protect the public and aquatic life from
pharmaceuticals flushed directly into the water system.”
“The California Product Stewardship Council is encouraged by today’s ruling. This is a big victory for
Alameda County to be sure, but also for every local government in the nation that wants to reduce public
costs and make proper management of medicines, or any product, more convenient for the public,” said
Heidi Sanborn, Executive Director of the California Product Stewardship Council. “We have worked closely
with Alameda County over the last three years to make collection of medications safe and convenient for all
Alameda County residents by mirroring the success of the producer operated and funded take-back
program operating in Canada without increasing drug costs. Our hope is that this is the end of the fight,
and the beginning of a productive relationship with the pharmaceutical companies to provide the same
convenient medication collection at pharmacies in Alameda as they’ve provided in British Columbia for the
past 15 years.”
Today’s Court decision will help pave the way for similar programs across the United States. Through shared
responsibility of getting unwanted medications properly disposed of we can make huge strides in protecting our
children, our pets and our environment for today and future generations.