Two more local Boards of Health in WA state took action last week to provide their communities with more secure and environmentally sound disposal systems for leftover prescription and over-the-counter medications. On Dec. 6th, the Kitsap County Public Health board passed a Secure Medicine Return Regulation. Pierce County’s Board of Health voted on similar legislation on Dec. 7th. Both laws passed unanimously.
These secure medicine return regulations require that pharmaceutical manufacturers develop and pay for a comprehensive and convenient secure medicine return system for county residents. These policies will:
- Expand secure medicine disposal options to reduce risks of medicine poisonings and misuse and environmental pollution.
- Improve convenience for residents with more locations where people can drop off their unused medicine.
- Ensure sustainability of the medicine take-back system through pharmaceutical industry funding and coordination.
Kitsap and Pierce are the third and fourth counties in Washington State to adopt such pharmaceutical stewardship policies. Snohomish County and King County passed similar laws in June of 2016, and in 2013, respectively. The four county laws are similar in many respects, but differ in some local customization and policy details.
It was a positive and productive experience to join the policy team at Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department as a consultant during their Board of Health’s policy development process. Coming soon: Look for more policy resources on these WA laws on my Safer Meds page.
More information about the new laws is available from the county health agencies:
- Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Medicine Return Program webpage
- Kitsap Public Health District’s Medicine Return webpage