Pittsburgh, PA (Vocus) July 9, 2010
GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, North America’s second largest and a Global Top 50 third-party logistics provider, today announced that Mary Hendrickson, Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, GENCO Pharmaceutical Services, spoke on June 30 before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging during a hearing on drug waste and disposal. Hendrickson’s testimony transcript and video of the hearing are available on the U.S. Senate Web site. Chairman Kohl (D-WI), along with Senators Corker (R-TN), Collins (R-ME) and Casey (D-PA), attended the hearing. The majority of the witnesses asked for changes to the Controlled Substance Act to allow non-DEA registrants the ability to accept controlled substances through take-back programs. The DEA is on record supporting H.R. 1359 which would give the DEA this authority.
Covered in the testimony is the intersection between drug regulations, environmental concerns and the human tragedy associated with overdoses on prescribed drugs found in medicine cabinets, a human health issue that could have implications within broader healthcare reform initiatives. The panel statements included a drug enforcement official who indicated that a nationwide drug take-back initiative is in the planning stages; a parent who lost a son due to the use of an unused prescription medication left in a medicine cabinet; and among others, Stevan Gressitt, Founding Director, Maine Institute for Safe Medicine, Faculty Associate University of Maine, Center on Aging, who discussed Maine’s statewide program allowing consumers to return unused drugs back to the DEA through the U.S. Postal Service – the program has recovered one ton of unused pharmaceuticals since 2007, saving the state $250,000 per year in associated costs.
Covered in Mary Hendrickson’s statement were the following:
- The environmental and misuse/abuse concerns associated with improper disposal or non-disposal of medications, as often practiced by long term care facilities and in the home.
- The simple yet highly regulated process of reverse distribution – to waste-to-energy facilities – of unsold medications from pharmacies, of which GENCO Pharmaceutical Services is the leading provider.
- An overview of the GENCO take-back program in Wisconsin, which allowed for consumers to return unused medications for incineration in a waste-to-energy facility, meeting with great success from both public safety and environmental standpoints. During the six month program, 1,259 households returned 15,164 medications.
- The process for handling pharmaceutical waste: Incineration of drugs provides an alternative to burning coal for electricity, resulting in a net greenhouse gas reduction, while keeping drugs out of landfills and the water supply. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey study of 139 bodies of water across the country found that over 80 percent of the water samples were contaminated by prescription drugs, which have been shown to harm fish and wildlife.
- The barrier to entry for GENCO into a consumer take-back market, despite the company’s standing as the leading provider of reverse distribution for the pharmaceutical industry’s overstocked and expired drugs. The Controlled Substance Act allows only for transfer of controlled substances among the DEA registrants. When a pharmacy dispenses the medication to a patient, the patient is not considered to be within the closed loop of distribution and is not a DEA registrant. As a result, reverse distributors as well as the other DEA registrants cannot take controlled substance product back from patients.
Other experts provided testimony presenting the opinion that the environmental, cost and safety benefits of take-back programs far outweigh the minimal risks of criminal diversion of controlled substances into a black market.
As the leader in pharmaceutical returns for industry, GENCO is well-poised to manage the logistics of a nationwide take-back program. Government’s healthcare reform initiatives may point the nation in the direction of improved data collection regarding the costs associated with over-prescribing, the human tragedy of overdoses associated with the medicine cabinet and the environmental issues with poor disposal – including the issue of medication seepage into the water supply. Legislation reform to address the legislation impeding drug take-back programs is expected over the next two years.
About GENCO Pharmaceutical Services
GENCO Pharmaceutical Services (GPS), a wholly owned subsidiary of GENCO Supply Chain Solutions, is the leader in pharmaceutical trade, sample and clinical trial returns and product recalls. GPS transforms pharmaceutical business activities into data-rich, systematic processes that provide critical business information and value to manufacturers, pharmacies and wholesalers. Through a state-of-the-art processing facility, the company provides comprehensive pharmaceutical returns management services to 67 pharmaceutical manufacturers, the biggest U.S. chain pharmacies, leading wholesalers and mail order pharmacies and specialty and infusion pharmacies. For more information, visit http://www.gencopharma.com.
About GENCO Supply Chain Solutions
GENCO Supply Chain Solutions is North America's 2nd largest and a Global Top 50 third-party logistics provider and the recognized leader in reverse logistics. The company manages 125 operations and 37 million square feet of warehouse space throughout North America for a diverse range of retail, manufacturing and government customers, including many Fortune 500 companies. The company provides initial and ongoing value through a complete range of solutions, including contract logistics, transportation logistics, parcel negotiation and audits, reverse logistics, damage research, product liquidation, pharmaceutical services, government solutions and supply chain technology solutions. For more information, visit http://www.genco.com.