In 2012, Alameda County – which covers the east side of the San Francisco Bay – passed a law that requires prescription drug manufacturers to pick up and dispose of unused and unwanted drugs sold in the county, regardless of where or by whom the drugs were manufactured.

Specifically, the county ordered drug companies to set up disposal kiosks throughout the region and to promote the program to county residents. The drug companies were also tasked with emptying the kiosks and destroying the drugs at medical-waste facilities.

Prescription drugs in Alameda County alone generate sales of $965 million annually, but the drug companies balked at the cost of the disposal program – estimated by the county at $330,000 a year and by drug companies at $1.2 million.

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