During a year in which legislative activity was restrained by a variety of factors, most notably the Senate’s inability to maintain a consistent majority, the New York State Legislature nonetheless still passed 641 bills, several of which would affect the pharmaceutical sector. While the Governor has until the end of the year to consider and act on these proposals, we wanted to provide a brief summary of this legislation as it currently stands.
Drug Take Back Act (S.9100 by Senator Hannon / A.9576-B Assemblywoman Gunther): This bill would establish a statewide pharmaceutical take back program that would be overseen by the Department of Health. Pharmaceutical manufacturers engaged in the manufacture of covered drugs sold in New York would be required to either individually or jointly develop, and fully fund all administrative and operational fees associated with this take back program.
Under this legislation, the definition of “covered drugs” includes substances recognized under 21 USC §321 (g) (1) that are sold or offered for sale in NYS, but does not include:
- drugs used in the clinical setting;
- biological drugs if the manufacturer already provides a take back program;
- drugs that are already part of a manufacturer FDA managed Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program;
- emptied injector products or emptied medical devices and their component parts or accessories;
- vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies;
- soaps and shampoos;
- household cleaning products;
- personal care products;
- pet pesticide products contained in collars, powders, shampoos or other topical applications.
Affected manufacturers would be required to submit a proposed drug take back plan to the Department of Health (DOH) for approval which specifies their intent to either:
- operate a program individually or jointly with other manufacturers;
- enter into an agreement with a take back organization to operate and implement a take back program; or
- enter into an agreement with DOH to operate a program on its own behalf.
Manufacturers of covered drugs must submit their proposed plan to DOH within 180 days after the bill is signed into law. The proposed plan must:
- ensure the program will take back all covered drugs, regardless of who produces them;
- include contact information for the person charged with submitting and overseeing the manufacturer take back initiative;
- detail how the program will provide convenient, geographically distributed, ongoing collection services to all individuals wishing to dispose of such items;
- describe other collection efforts by which covered drugs are collected;
- explain how covered drugs will be safely and securely tracked and handled during the collection, disposal and destruction process;
- outline the public education and outreach activities, including advertising of locations on a website, signage, other written materials and how effectiveness will be evaluated;
- detail how the cost of pharmacy collection will be reimbursed, retroactive to the effective date of legislation, and if there is more than one manufacturer involved in the take back program, a plan for fair and reasonable allocation of costs that is reasonably related to the volume or value of covered drugs sold in NY.
The DOH, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation, will review and determine if the manufacturer take back plan meets the program requirements within 60 days of receipt and will notify the manufacturer of their decision in writing. If the plan is not approved, the manufacturer will have 30 days to submit a revised plan to DOH. If a subsequent plan is rejected by DOH, the manufacturer(s) will be out of compliance with take back statutory requirements and will be subject to enforcement provisions. The DOH will put a list on their website of all manufacturers that are participating in an approved drug take back program and will update this website annually.
Moreover, affected manufacturers are required to update their drug take back program at least once every three years and to submit an updated proposal to DOH. Any proposed change to the take back program must be submitted in writing and approved by DOH.
Additionally, a manufacturer who begins to offer a covered drug after the effective date of this bill, is required to notify the DOH they have joined an existing approved take back program or submit a proposal to operate a take back program within 90 days after the initial sale of the covered drug.
Each approved take back program is required to submit a report, at a date and in a manner set forth by DOH. The DOH is then required to submit an annual report to the Legislature which details:
- all drug take back program activities;
- the weight collected by each program;
- a description of collection activities;
- the name and location of all collection sites;
- public education and outreach activities;
- evaluation of efficacy of the program and each collection method; and
- manufacturers that are out of compliance or subject to penalties.
This legislation would also require all pharmacy chains that operate 10 or more establishments and all registered non-resident pharmacies that provide covered drugs to state residents by mail, to offer one or more of the following take back options to consumers:
- on-site collection,
- drop box or receptacle;
- mail back collection by voucher for a prepaid envelope; or
- any other federal DEA approved collection methods.
Participation in the drug take back program by other authorized collectors is voluntary. All program costs incurred by pharmacies and other authorized collectors will be paid or reimbursed by the affected manufacturers, either jointly or individually.
Additionally, the Commissioner of Health will establish a drug take back distribution plan by regulation for cities with a population of 125,000 or more that ensures collection receptacle placement is accessible yet provides for program cost efficiency.
Lastly, this legislation preempts any county/municipal action on drug take back and includes language to clarify the jurisdiction of all matters relating to drug disposal is vested at the State level.
Reclassification of Controlled Substances by Regulation (A.10468-B by Assemblymember Ryan / S.8275-B by Senator Jacobs): This bill would allow the Commissioner of Health to reclassify any drug (compound, mixture or preparation) containing any substance listed in Schedule I of §3306 of the Public Health Law as a Schedule II, III, IV, or V substance, or exempt it from the schedules entirely, by regulation or emergency regulation instead of through the enactment of legislation, as is currently required. The Commissioner of DOH would only be able to reclassify or delete drugs that have been similarly reclassified or deleted under the federal Controlled Substances Act. The Commissioner would be permitted to reclassify drugs to the same numbered schedule or a higher numbered schedule. This bill seeks to increase treatment options for those seeking compassionate care, and corrects a long-standing barrier that sometimes resulted in inconsistencies between the federal and state schedules.
Medical Marihuana as Alternative Treatment for Pain and Substance Use Disorder (S8987-A by Senator Amedore / A. 11011-B by Assemblymember Gottfried (Rules): This legislation would help provide alternative treatment options for pain management and substance use disorder by including “pain that degrades health and functional capability where the use of medical marihuana is an alternative to opioid use” and “substance use disorder” to the list of qualifying conditions for patients to access medical marihuana.
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It is unclear when and how the Governor will act on these bills. However, all of these issues have been the focus of increased attention and advocacy this year. As discussed in our previous post, the Governor must consider and act upon these bills by the end of 2018. The Governor may also negotiate any additional language or “chapter amendments” he believes may be necessary to fully implement such provisions.
For additional information on any of the foregoing bills, please do not hesitate to contact Farrell Fritz’s Regulatory & Government Relations Practice Group at 518.313.1450 or NYSRGR@FarrellFritz.com.