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Bill Establishing Statewide Medicine Take-Back Fails to Reach Senate Vote


February 24, 2012

Olympia, WA (Feb. 16, 2012) ― Though backed by a large and diverse coalition of supporters, Senate Bill 5234, the Secure Medicine Take-Back Bill, was denied a vote in the Washington State Senate before Tuesday’s “cross-over” cutoff. The proposed legislation would have required drug manufacturers selling medicines in Washington state to provide and finance a secure take-back and disposal program for left-over or expired medicines from residents – at a cost of roughly 2 cents per prescription to drug manufacturers.

Proponents believe the measure was several votes short of passage after strong opposition from the powerful pharmaceutical industry eroded support developed by coalition proponents. This is the fourth year in a row where the secure medicine take-back legislation has been before both houses of the Legislature. The list of actively supporting organizations has grown each year, yet the bill has never been passed by either chamber.

“We are failing our communities when the voices of law enforcement, public health officials, substance abuse professionals, children’s advocates, and other community leaders are drowned out by the money and power of the pharmaceutical industry lobbyists,” said Patric L. Slack, commander of the Snohomish Regional Drug Task Force. “Instead of relying on taxpayers to cover the costs of drug take back, shouldn’t the very manufacturers that put these products out there be held responsible for funding their removal?”


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