The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association hailed the Senate's passage of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act.

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Senate passes drug disposal legislation

October 1st, 2010

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and National Community Pharmacists Association hailed the Senate's passage of the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act.

The bill (S. 3397), approved by the Senate on Thursday, permits the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow consumers to return their lawfully obtained controlled substance medications to DEA-authorized entities for disposal. NACDS noted that the legislation prevents the mandating of drug take-back programs in pharmacies.

With House of Representatives' passage of the Safe Drug Disposal Act (H.R. 5809) last week and now the measure approved by the Senate, the legislation will be presented to President Obama to be signed into law.

"By steering clear of a drug take-back program mandate, Congress wisely prevented unintended consequences that could have undermined the health and safety of the public and of pharmacy personnel," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson said in a statement. "NACDS appreciates the work of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Reps. Jay Inslee (D., Wash.), Bart Stupak (D., Mich.), Joe Barton (R., Texas) and Lamar Smith (R., Texas) to ensure that good public policy won the day on this important issue.

"NACDS is committed to being part of the solution when it comes to advancing the safe use and safe handling of medications, and we urge President Obama to sign this pro-patient, pro-community and pro-pharmacy legislation into law," Anderson added.

NCPA also cited the support of Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Rep. Jim Moran (D., Va.) in pushing through the legislation.

"Prescription drug abuse is at epic proportions in many parts of the country, and community pharmacists are uniquely positioned to help Americans properly dispose of their expired and unused prescription drugs," stated NCPA acting executive vice president and CEO Douglas Hoey. "We commend members of Congress from both parties for coming together to approve this important legislation."

In addition, NCPA noted that the legislation could improve and encourage voluntary prescription drug disposal programs like the association's Dispose My Meds effort.

"Just this past weekend, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration held a national Take-Back Day, which had the support of NCPA," Hoey explained. "We commend the DEA for its efforts but believe consumers need continued, ongoing access to convenient disposal locations. Programs like Dispose My Meds also offer another avenue to allow community pharmacists to promote proper adherence to the patient's prescription medication regimen."

Through the Dispose My Meds program, launched in April, NCPA partnered with Sharps Compliance Inc. to help make voluntary disposal programs easier for community pharmacies. More than 1,000 pharmacies are currently participating.

Also working with Sharps Compliance to promote safe medication disposal is Walgreen Co. Through the Walgreens Safe Medication Disposal Program, announced Thursday, customers can buy a specially designed envelope at the chain's pharmacies that allows them to mail prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications they no longer use for safe, environmentally friendly disposal.