[Pharmwaste] CNN Health: Throwing away expired meds

Volkman, Jennifer (MPCA) jennifer.volkman at state.mn.us
Wed Oct 10 14:40:33 EDT 2012

I find this interesting because I've noticed that some common OTC cold medicines seem to now have an expiration date of one year, following the generic advice for many prescriptions--which is to toss after one year. I read further into the comments to see if anything beyond the usual whining came up and I found this from one commentor:

"This article is on the right track. Unfortunately, it doesn't go deep enough.

The U.S. military has been investigating this for over thirty years. In fact they commissioned the FDA to do an extensive study. This program is called the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP).

Why haven't you heard about this program, because it is classified. This program has established the true measured shelf life of many common medications. It found that 90% of medications are made up of stable molecules and were effective and still within new manufacture guidelines much later than their expiration date, many after 10 and even 15 years.

Quotes from FDA researchers tell you the real story:

"Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons,"
"It's not the job of the FDA to be concerned about a consumer's economic interest."
"With a handful of exceptions - notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics - most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military."

Contrary to the wailing from the penut gallery here, antibiotics cipro, tetracycline, and penicillin we found to be still effective after ten years. That is not to say they stop being effective at that time, but rather that was how old the lots were that they were testing.

The real issue here is about marketing and liability. Companies have a self-serving financial benefit not to have extended expiration period. Also, they have no control over how the medication is stored and used. Although, one medication tested was stored where the daytime temperature was routinely 135 degrees(F). It was tested at its experation date and found to have no degradation."

So, it seems it would be beneficial to find this study and see what could be learned from it. It appears there is justification for more accurate dating and better patient education.
From: pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us [pharmwaste-bounces at lists.dep.state.fl.us] on behalf of Matthew C. Mireles [mirelesmc at earthlink.net]
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:11 AM
To: pharmwaste at lists.dep.state.fl.us
Subject: [Pharmwaste] CNN Health: Throwing away expired meds

You may be interested in this story by CNN Health...

Are we throwing away 'expired' medications too soon?

Matthew Mireles

Please note that my new email address is mirelesmc at gmail.com effective Sept 6, 2012.
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