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ListServ Archive Message: Sharps and Medication Disposal

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Subject:    Federal Court Rules in Favor of Alameda County EPR Ordinance
Date Sent:    August 30, 2013

U.S. District court ruled against the pharmaceutical industry in their case against Alameda County allowing the County’s "first in the nation" pharmaceutical extended producer responsibility (EPR) ordinance to go into effect in November of this year.

Alameda County's Safe Drug Disposal ordinance passed in July 2012 and requires pharmaceutical manufacturers and producers selling drugs in Alameda County to fund and operate a county-wide medicine take-back program.  In December 2012, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association of America (PhRMA), the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA), and the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) filed suit against Alameda County.  The suit claimed the ordinance violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which forbids state and local governments from enacting regulations that "unduly interfere with interstate commerce."

U.S. District Judge Richard Seeborg wrote in his ruling on August 28 that the ordinance "does not discriminate against out-of-state actors in favor of local persons or entities, and does not otherwise impermissibly burden interstate commerce."  The judge also noted that "the ordinance serves a legitimate public health and safety interest, and that the relatively modest compliance costs producers will incur should they choose to sell their products in the county do not unduly burden interstate commerce." 

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