- Citing water contamination and drug abuse concerns, Alameda County enacted a drug take-back program in 2012, but pharma companies are being forced to bear the financial burden. Now, they're fighting back, the WSJ's Ed Silverman reports.
- Several pharmaceutical and biotech trade groups have united and filed a complaint at the Supreme Court level requesting the bench to review the program's constitutionality. The groups say that two lower courts, including a federal appeals court, were wrong to uphold the program as constitutionally legitimate.
- Based on official estimates from Alameda county, the annual costs of the buy-back program are roughly $330,000, which translates into $5,300 to $12,000 for each manufacturer.
The alliance of pharmaceutical and biotech companies that have filed the suit argue that the Alameda municipal government is shifting costs onto companies that may not even have a presence in California (though their products are sold there).
The concern is that municipal and state governments will use this as a precedent and start asking companies to shoulder the burden for financial issues that should be handled locally. However, the federal appeals court that upheld the program has responded that the pharma industry generates about $950 billion in sales in Alameda, and the costs of the take-back program are negligible in comparison.
It is not clear whether the Supreme Court will decide to hear the case.