SEATTLE - Four groups representing the nation's major drug makers sued King County Wednesday, claiming its "drug take-back" program violates federal law, would not keep drugs from children and would place an unfair financial burden on patients.
"Take-back programs are more expensive to operate and, we believe, less effective than in-home disposal," said Matthew Bennett, Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers in a statement released this week.
The lawsuit compares imposing the costs on drug makers to requiring "news publications to conduct the County's paper recycling," and "food producers to collect and dispose of all spoiled food".
Supporters of the law called that contention "absurd."
"For a multi-million dollar industry, like the drug companies, to not be supportive of this and not be willing to pay for this small prevention effort, it's just petty," said Beratta Gomillion from the Center for Human Services in Shoreline.
In its lawsuit, the drug companies said "in-home disposal" remains the best way to keep children and teenagers from getting to prescription drugs.
"If it's available, they're going to do it," countered Gomillion, "It would be a whole lot easier to get them to stop if they didn't have access to the drugs."
Health board officials said they expected litigation, but also believe the law will hold up in court. The plan is expected to cost two-cents per prescription and take effect in 2015.