Vote on drug disposal program postponed until Dec. 7

Sometimes negotiating with drug companies can take a while. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has found this out with a measure he introduced that would be a first in the nation to mandate a drug disposal program at the expense of drug retailers and manufacturers doing business in San Francisco.

Mirkarimi postponed this week for the second time a vote on the legislation as he continues talks with the drug industry.

“After the initial consideration before us of this legislation I had delayed it until today,” Mirkarimi said Tuesday. “Several weeks have gone by and in the course of that period of time I had met with several dozen representatives of the pharmaceutical industry; there is a consortium known as Pharma that represents quite a few of this nation’s largest pharmaceutical industries.”

Mirkarimi said he is open to launching a pilot program, with costs footed by the pharmaceutical industry, depending on what that program would look like.

“Those negotiations are still ongoing,” he said. “I want to be optimistic.”

The board will take up the legislation again on Dec. 7.

The legislation has come under intense opposition from the drug industry.

A drug disposal program is meant to provide people with a method to discard their unwanted prescription drugs instead of flushing them down the toilet, which can pollute the Bay, or throwing them out in the trash so they end up in the landfill. And just leaving them around the house could encourage suicide or drug abuse.

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