Drug Disposal Bill To Be Introduced Tuesday -- Whether Gavin Newsom Likes It or Not

Categories: Health, Politics
Note: unused pills do not make appropriate Christmas gifts.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has called off negotiations with drug manufacturers, and will on Tuesday introduce legislation setting up an industry-funded program encouraging consumers to return unused prescription drugs to pharmacies.

With Mayor Gavin Newsom matriculating to Sacramento by Jan. 3 -- and the veto threat hanging over business unfriendly legislation diminished -- supervisors can expect to see more bills introduced in coming months that our business-friendly mayor might have opposed. Mirkarimi had spent weeks negotiating with drug manufacturers, bringing up the possibility of a pilot project -- rather than a permanent, industry-funded drug-return program as will be proposed in Tuesday's legislation. Now, however, all deals are off.

"We have gone generously out of our way to invite downtown and the industry to work with us," said Mirkarimi. "They keep snubbing us, thinking they don't have to work with the local government."

The bill would require drug manufacturers to pay for a program estimated to cost around $250,000 per year, whereby consumers could dispose of unused drugs at special containers placed at pharmacies.

When we wrote about the legislation Nov. 24, industry lobbyists had made a  priority of beating back the measure

"They're bringing their blazing corporate guns and lobbying tactics on to little old San Francisco, just as they've done in other states, all because we're asking them to help pay for a bucket with a lid that's regulated, so that people can properly dispose of their pharmaceuticals," Mirkarimi says. "If that's such a big threat to them, then their arrogance speaks for itself."
Now that the Board of Supervisors is scheduled to choose an interim mayor after Newsom becomes lieutenant governor, ostensibly on Jan. 3, Mirkarimi says the lobbyists may have misplayed their hand.

"The first vote will not be until 14th" of January, he said. When the final vote comes, "Mayor Newsom may not be the mayor anymore."

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