Legislator Burke: Big pharma must pay its fair share

Posted at 9:58 AM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-23 09:58:16-05

The Erie County Legislature has introduced a new law requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay for the safe disposal of unused medicines.

The local law, titled the "Erie County Pharmaceutical Water Pollution Act," will protect water from harmful chemicals found in prescription medications. According to Legislator Patrick Burke, who authored the law, growing evidence shows the contamination of nearby streams, lakes and drinking reservoirs is partially from the improper disposal of these drugs.

Pharmaceutical companies will now have the responsibility of correctly disposing of unused medications to prevent water contamination.

"Billion dollar companies are amassing huge profits while cahs strapped municipalities are burdened with cleaning up the mess they leave behind," said Legislator Burke. "We're not going to allow that to happen anymore."

A similar local law passed in Alameda County in California where the Supreme Court declared its constitutionality.

Burke says the pharmaceutical industry needs to take responsibility for the harmful effects of their products.

"Government exists to serve the people's interests, not to serve the wealthy and powerful," said said Burke. "The courts have spoken and Erie County is within its rights to demand that the pharmaceutical industry clean up after themselves and prevent their products from unnecessarily contaminating our environment."