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DEA sets new rules for disposing of prescription drugs
e-Reports, Sept. 22, 2014
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Physicians, hospitals and clinics should be aware that the Sept. 9 Federal Register issued new rules for disposing of controlled substances. The regulations outline methods of transferring unused or unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances to newly authorized collectors for disposal.

Prior to 2010, the Controlled Substances Act made no legal provision for patients to rid themselves of unwanted pharmaceutical controlled substances except to give them to law enforcement, and banned pharmacies, doctors’ offices and hospitals from accepting them. Most people flushed their unused drugs down the toilet, threw them in the trash or kept them in the household medicine cabinet. The 2010 law authorized new regulations to offer better options.

Four years later, the regulations are now done. They authorize certain DEA registrants (manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, narcotic treatment programs, retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy) to modify their registration with the DEA to become authorized collectors.

And retail pharmacies and hospitals/clinics with an on-site pharmacy may operate collection receptacles at long-term care facilities.

ISMA General Counsel Julie Reed reminded physicians that doctors still cannot legally take back patients’ pills in their offices and dispose of them. “This new ruling will not change things for the average doctor,” she cautioned. “But it will give patients many more options for disposal of dangerous drugs, which is long overdue and much needed.”

The DEA has been regularly hosting drug Take-Back Days since 2010 but has no plans to continue. The final national Take-Back Day is Sept. 27. To find a take-back site near you, visit here.

After Oct. 9, your patients can find authorized collectors in your community by calling the DEA Office of Diversion Control at (800) 882-9539. Or go the ISMA Controlled Substances page.

For more information see the Sept. 9 Federal Register.

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