T

he pharmaceutical industry is playing an intensifying game of whack-a-mole as its latest battle over a so-called drug take-back program is being fought in Washington state, which could become the third state in the nation to force drug makers to finance collections of unused or unwanted medicines.

The Washington bill, which was first introduced a year ago, is now gaining momentum in the state House of Representatives, where a vote may occur this week, according to legislators and lobbyists. And the lawmaker who sponsored the bill believes the state Senate will be amenable to the legislation, as well.

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  • Big pharma loves to conjure up scary stories of what might happen if we implement drug takeback programs. But there’s no need to guess. Santa Cruz County has had the country’s most comprehensive takeback program since 2006. Every pharmacy in the county collects drugs, as well as sharps, for proper disposal at no cost. And there has been zero diversion. No thefts, no spills, no problems of any kind. The program works great, and has been a boon for local citizens and the environment. And it costs next to nothing! This is the reality, and it’s time we implemented it everywhere.

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