Alameda County amended its Safe Drug Disposal Regulations on October 16, 2013 to extend the deadline for submitting disposal plans from November 1, 2013 to May 1, 2014. The pharmaceutical industry associations that brought an unsuccessful dormant Commerce Clause challenge to the Ordinance, have filed an appeal. Pharm. Research & Mfrs. of Am. v. Cnty. of Alameda is pending in the Ninth Circuit. The appellants filed a motion to expedite briefing and argument, and the court issued an order on October 16, 2013 granting the motion in part. Pursuant to the order, briefing will conclude on January 24, 2014 and the argument will be scheduled in April 2014 (the exact date has not yet been set on the court’s calendar).
Because the schedule for the appeal is so close to the plan submission deadline, entities should begin thinking about their compliance strategy. Companies should consider whether to ban together with other producers to create a disposal program, or to create their own. A few product stewardship companies have expressed interest in starting programs, and the advantages and disadvantages of each program—particularly how costs will be allocated among producers—should be carefully considered.