SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Northern California county has voted to make the pharmaceutical industry pay to dispose of expired and unused prescription drugs.

The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday on an ordinance that government and industry officials say is the first of its kind nationwide.

Supporters say unused drugs lead to accidental overdoses and contaminate the water supply when thrown out or flushed down the toilet. Critics say there is no evidence that existing drug disposal programs in Europe and Canada help the environment or curb drug abuse.

Industry representatives and the FDA say it’s safe to throw out old pills in a sealed container.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.


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