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Efforts To Legalize Drug Recycling Stalled In Illinois

(Photo Illustration by David McNew/Getty Images)

(Photo Illustration by David McNew/Getty Images)

CBS Chicago (con't)

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CHICAGO (AP) – Laura Redman inherited 13 vials containing hundreds of pills after her mother died of Lou Gehrig’s disease. With legislation that would allow the recycling of medication stalled in Illinois, there was nothing she could do with it.

“It’s a sin to see all this go to waste,” Redman, 56, of Wilmington, told the Chicago Tribune for a story published in Saturday’s editions.

“It hurts me, because other people could use it.”

Redman said it may have helped lessen her grief if the medication could have been used to help someone else.

Supporters of drug recycling have been working on a compromise between drug manufacturers who want protections against lawsuits and trial lawyers who want patients and their families to have some recourse if something with the recycled drugs goes awry.

State Rep. Patricia Bellock, R-Hinsdale, a chief sponsor of the medication recycling legislation, said she hopes to see a vote on the legislation this fall after years of it being stuck in committees.

Under the proposal, health care providers could bring unused meds to a drug repository created by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The drugs could then be re-prescribed to needy patients.

At least 38 states have similar programs, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Illinois’ legislation was modeled on several existing laws.

Doctors and hospital pharmacies already informally re-prescribe unused drugs, but a formal program would help, said Dr. Charles Schiffer, professor of medicine and oncology at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit.

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