SB 419 Safe Needle Disposal: Drug Manufacturer Responsibility
Author: Senator Joe Simitian- D, Palo Alto
MS-CAN Position: Support & Co-Sponsor
During the 2010 Legislative Session, the National MS Society co-sponsored Senator Joe Simitian’s SB 486 that required makers of injectable drugs to submit annual reports to the Department of Resource Recovery & Recycling regarding their programs to provide patients options for disposal of used sharps. The bill was a result of an idea from Betty Lipkin of San Carlos, who lives with multiple sclerosis and who submitted the idea to Senator Simitian’s annual “There Oughta Be A Law” contest.
But after a legislative evaluation team reviewed the report submissions, it was determined that the makers of injectable drugs that treat chronic illnesses (such as multiple sclerosis and diabetes) are failing to provide patients safe, convenient, cost effective methods of needle disposal. We are now co-sponsoring Senator Simitian's SB 419 during this legislative session in an effort to clarify what the drug makers are responsible for doing.
This bill builds upon SB 486 (Simitian) Chapter 591, Statues of 2009. Pursuant to that measure, pharmaceutical manufacturers who sell medications that are routinely injected at home are required to submit annual reports to the Department of Resource Recovery and Recycling (DRRR) describing how they support and provide safe sharps (e.g. syringes, pen needles) collection and disposal programs.
Senate Bill 419 requires that pharmaceutical manufacturers provide these reports electronically to DRRR and, that when posted on a manufacturer’s website, the information shall be posted in a readily accessible location on their websites.
Although it is illegal to throw sharps into the trash, many people are unaware and continue to illegally dispose of their sharps. In California, approximately 1 in 12 households have someone who must self-inject to treat diabetes, cancer, hepatitis B & C, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, hemophilia, infertility, serious allergies or other medical conditions generating approximately 389 million sharps annually.
Improper disposal poses a significant risk of injury and/or infection to children, hotel workers, janitors and solid waste employees as well as making almost one million Californians in violation of current law.
This bill addresses implementation challenges identified after the submission of the first round of reports required pursuant to SB 486. Ensuring that these reports are readily available to sharps users was a key goal of the initial legislation. Patients who self-inject can use the information to identify and evaluate what pharmaceutical companies are doing to assist them in managing their sharps waste.