We recently outlined key provisions of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Final Rule modifying the standards governing industry management of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals, which become effective August 21, 2019. Client Alert
Impacted industries must immediately comply with the nationwide ban on the sewering of hazardous waste pharmaceuticals as of the August 21st effective date. The ban applies to a wide range of stakeholders, including, but not limited to reverse distributors, pharmacies, hospitals, and wholesalers.
Additional regulatory changes under the Final Rule involving the management of FDA-approved over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies (“NRT”) and hazardous waste prescription pharmaceuticals destined for reverse distribution also become effective on August 21st in Alaska and Iowa. All other states will have the option to adopt the NRT changes at the state level before they become effective. As for the changes to management of hazardous waste prescription pharmaceuticals, all other states must adopt the EPA’s regulatory changes by July 1, 2022 if enacted through legislation, or by July 1, 2021, if enacted through state regulation. The other 48 states may also adopt more stringent changes to the handling of hazardous waste prescription pharmaceuticals than envisioned by the EPA—in other words, for these states, the EPA regulation serves a regulatory floor, not a ceiling.
August 21, 2019 marks the start of the battle at the state level for regulatory consistency regarding the management of NRT waste and hazardous waste prescription pharmaceuticals. Many impacted stakeholders will be subject to multiple states’ hazardous waste regulations, either through multi-state stakeholder business locations or through waste that is transported across multiple state lines. Without some measure of state law consistency, entities who manage NRT waste or hazardous waste prescription pharmaceuticals may see their compliance costs rise as they struggle to comport with variable and possibly conflicting state requirements.