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Pharmaceutical Drug Take-Back

Drug disposal remains a focus of state and local governments around the nation, especially as a solution to both environmental concerns and medicine diversion and abuse. Mandatory drug-take-back programs add new, unnecessary costs to medications by forcing manufacturers of medicine to pay for the disposal of unwanted or expired medications by consumers. Despite the fact many chain drug stores already offer free drug take-back for their customers, states continue to seek to build on the momentum of laws that have already passed in California, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

CHPA strongly opposes mandatory manufacturer-funded, drug take-back laws and works hard to defeat them.  In 2020, we were successful in defeating drug take-back bills in Maine, New Hampshire, Illinois, and Rhode Island.

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Additionally, CHPA was successful in passing local ordinance preemption legislation in Utah. By limiting the ability of localities (counties/cities) from passing their own drug take-back laws, the focus and the policy debate is squarely in the state capitols, where it should be. In 2020, Utah became the fifth state to preempt localities on the issue, joining: Arizona, Indiana, Missouri, Ohio.

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Pharmaceuticals and the Environment

The struggling plastic recycling industry, combined with growing concern about excess plastic in landfills and waterways, has spurred interest by state governments in recent years to address single-use plastic and plastic in packaging. Issues related to the environment as a whole, in fact, have grown exponentially for CHPA, especially as distrust and scrutiny over the federal government’s stewardship of the environment have also increased.

In 2020, CHPA successfully defeated and/or amended all efforts to include FDA-approved products in attempts to limit pharmaceutical/dietary supplement packaging in: California, Maine, Washington, Iowa, Massachusetts, and New York.

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Plastic use reduction, both in content of products and their packaging, will continue to be a strong interest of state governments in 2021. While it is clear that many manufacturers are focused on sustainability efforts with the goal of limiting plastic waste, this change in manufacturing practice will take time and cooperation by regulators. CHPA will continue to oppose state-specific attempts to regulate the packaging of FDA-approved drugs, medical devices, and dietary supplements.

Keeping public policy debates relative to CHPA’s interests at the state level, and not at the local county or municipal level, is critical to our success. Local action on our issues often create a patchwork of local laws that can contradict existing state and federal laws, making them nearly impossible to comply with. As a result, CHPA attempts to preempt and supersede local attempts at addressing our broad ranging issues. In 2020 we were successful in preempting Florida from acting on any issue related to the CHPA membership.

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Preserving Consumer Access to Pseudoephedrine (PSE)

COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of self-care, self-treatment, and limiting interaction with people in public spaces. Now, more than ever, consumers need the ability to treat common ailments without the need to visit a doctor for a prescription.

Over the course of the last 15 years, state and local governments have sought to limit access to medications containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), citing the diversion of these medicines into the manufacture of methamphetamine. In response, CHPA and its members have offered the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx) as a solution to block the illegal sales of PSE, while allowing law-abiding citizens to continue to purchase the medications without the need to visit a doctor. 35 states now mandate the use of NPLEx, and some governments are even reconsidering their previous restrictions on the medication as a result of NPLEx’s success.

CHPA had another successful year defending consumer non-prescription access to this popular and effective OTC ingredient. The following are some highlights:

  • Repealed more than 80 local ordinances in Missouri that required a prescription for the purchase of PSE-containing medicines.
  • Defeated an Oklahoma bill that would have modified the reporting requirements for controlled substances sold in the state. PSE is a Schedule V controlled substance in Oklahoma.
  • Defeated legislation in Maryland that would have prohibited retailers from swiping driver’s licenses and ID cards when making a product purchase.
  • Defeated efforts in Michigan that would have required a prescription for purchase of PSE.
  • Introduced legislation in Mississippi that would overturn a decade-old law that made PSE a Schedule III controlled substance available only with a doctor’s prescription.