SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A San Francisco Board of Supervisors committee has endorsed legislation that would force drug manufacturers to help the public safely dispose of unwanted medications. Drug companies would also have to foot the bill for the program.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi brought the measure to the board’s public safety committee.

“Wastewater treatment plants are not designed to treat drugs that end up in the sewer system,” he declared.

Mirkarimi proposed demanding that drug companies pay the costs associated with the collection and safe disposal of unwanted medications that otherwise might be flushed down the toilet or thrown in the trash.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd questioned the city’s ability to regulate drug disposal.

“The local city and county Board of Supervisors is in way over its head,” he warned. “This is a long arm that the eleven of us think that we might have that I don’t think we do.”

“I entirely disagree with that,” Mirkarimi responded.

The debate over Mirkarimi’s proposal extended into the public comment period, where drug manufacturers faced off against environmentalists.

“This is the type of proactive action needed to stop pollution at the source and is essential to truly protect our water resources,” one woman offered in support of the legislation.

“Many complex chemicals such as those in pharmaceuticals are so persistent that even the most sophisticated treatment can not remove them,” added Jen Jackson, who spoke on behalf of Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group.

“Generics have razor thin profit margins and generic manufacturers cannot afford to absorb the cost,” a man countered.

Another critic described Mirkarimi’s legislation as ill conceived.

“Pharmaceuticals that end up in the water supply are the result of patients taking those drugs, they’re not metabolized and they are excreted,” explained California Health Care Institute’s Michael Hawkins.

Mirkarimi’s legislation advanced from committee, and was sent to the full board for consideration.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Big G says:

    These clowns think they should do everything but solve a budget, keep the streets clean & safe. Problem with these progressive liberals is they think they know what is best for all of us. David Chui wasting taxpayers money on a fact finding trip on biking in the Netherlands, Mirkrimi’s thinks he knows how the police should do things & now this latest proposal! When do the legal & hard working citizens of this CIty going to wake up & start electing people that are down the middle & actually care about the entire City. Note to STUPES – We are not a Socialist COuntry. We are a Democracy. We have freedom of choice in this Coutnry. Most of us like it this way. I don’t need you clowns to tell me what to eat, what toys I can have. Wake up San Francisco!!!

  2. Trudy Sanders says:

    Don’t regulate it, just give us a place to drop the stuff off…is that so hard ?

  3. Katy says:

    We need to pass a law to define the responsibilities and purview of the STUPES so we can get the City’s problems handled as they should be. This gang of yahoos needs to go.

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