L.A. County Drug Take-Back Proposal Meets Stiff Pharma Lobbying Efforts

Following the 2015 court battle that Alameda County faced over their drug take-back program, L.A. County Supes voted to explore the possibility of instituting their own take-back program.

While the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department already runs 20 collection sites around the county, county officials are of the mind that the county’s 10 million residents might benefit from a larger network of disposal sites, financed by the drug makers.

And well, the pharmaceutical companies making and peddling the drugs are not too thrilled with the prospect of having to shell out money so people can safely dispose of unused medications. In the second half of 2015, pharmaceutical industry groups spent nearly $250,000 lobbying the county in various capacities. One method has been cold calling residents to tell them that the program would “cost a huge amount of taxpayer money” and then asking county residents to sign and send a form letter decrying the take-back program proposal.

Other opponents, like the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, have voiced concerns about the overall effectiveness of an expanded take-back network and suggest that a public education campaign might achieve the same effect with the existing Sheriff-run sites.

The proposal was up for a vote this week, but the board postponed any further action for a period of further review. It is currently slated to come back up for a vote on May 3.

More on the L.A. County Medicine Take-Back program proposal can be found here.

Image Credit: Flickr User peggyq, https://flic.kr/p/7g1Fou via (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)