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US Supreme Court lets stand Northern California county's drug disposal law

OAKLAND, Calif. – The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a Northern California county’s drug disposal law, paving the way for similar ordinances.

The court refused to hear the pharmaceutical industry’s challenge to an Alameda County program requiring drug companies to pay for disposal of unused medicines.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Wednesday (http://tinyurl.com/nlsplkk ) the law was passed to prevent unused drugs from getting in the San Francisco Bay, groundwater and the hands of abusers.

San Francisco County passed a similar law but held off enacting it until the court case was resolved. San Mateo County is close to launching a similar program, and Santa Clara County is considering one. Washington state’s Kings County enacted an ordinance in 2013.

Drug companies estimate they will spend $1.2 million annually complying with the Alameda ordinance.