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Some Drugs Found To Be Effective Long Past Expiration Dates

10/10/12

  09:35:37 am, by MedBen5   , 198 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

Some Drugs Found To Be Effective Long Past Expiration Dates

Could extending the shelf life of prescription drugs help to lower health care costs?

According to Reuters Health, Lee Cantrell – director of the California Poison Control System, San Diego Division, and a professor of clinical pharmacy at University of California, San Francisco – and his colleagues analyzed 14 boxed drugs that had expired 28 to 40 years earlier, and found that 12 still met government requirements for potency.

The boxed drugs included the narcotic painkillers hydrocodone and codeine as well as the sedative pentobarbital and butalbital. Aspirin and amphetamine were the only two drugs that appeared to have degraded to less than 90% of their declared amount, the minimal accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Canterill figures that an “enormous amount” of drugs are thrown out because they’re too old. But expiration dates – typically ranging between one and five years of production – are arbitrarily set by the manufacturer, because the FDA doesn’t require them to determine how long the medicine retain its potency.

“If manufacturers were required to do longer-term stability tests, it could be an enormous cost-saver for consumers,” Canterill said, adding that it could also “be an answer to some of the world’s drug shortages.”

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