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Old 04-05-2009, 11:14 AM
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Default Expiration Dates on Meds

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Found an interesting article online about the real expiration dates of medications. Here are the first few paragraphs:

Do drugs really stop working after the date stamped on the bottle?

Fifteen years ago, the U. S. military decided to find out. Sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every two to three years, the military began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory.

The testing, conducted by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results, never before reported, show that about 90% of them were safe and effective far past their original expiration date, at least one for 15 years past it.

In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, says he has concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer.

Mr. Flaherty notes that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn't mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful.

You can find the entire article at http://www.endtimesreport.com/Prescr...longevity.html
(cited from www.mercola.com/2000/apr/2/drug_expiration.htm)
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:34 PM
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Thank you that article was very interesting and very informative.

Kevin. aka YYZ
“If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk.” Sir Robert Baden-Powell

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Old 04-05-2009, 06:26 PM
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They don't tell you that on the bottle because they just want u to buy more, and more, and more..
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Old 04-05-2009, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by SwifTst View Post
They don't tell you that on the bottle because they just want u to buy more, and more, and more..
This is not quite right... While I do not have experience with FDA testing protocols for medication, I have some familiarity with the protocols used for sterility on medical devices.

In the case of medical devices, the standard sterility testing process allows the FDA spend 6 months using an accelerated testing method to determine if product sterility can be maintained under normal conditions for ~3-5 years.

If a longer sterility period is desired (like 7+) years, there is no accelerated process. What this effectively means that if a new product came out today (4/5/2009) and the company wanted it to have a 10 year sterility expiration date, the company would need to safely store under normal conditions at least some of the product for the ten year period and then submit them for testing. What this effectively means is that (assuming they pass the sterility testing) the first products with a 10 year expiration would not be available until some time after 4/5/2019, with an expiration of ~April of 2029.

For drugs, the situation can become even more complicated because some of the drugs and medications break down or change over time. Take asprin for instance. If the drug is allowed enough time, it actually turns into a poison... This is in addition to how a drug can change in effectiveness over time, with some older medications no longer being effective at the same dosages.

As for business deliberately providing comparatively "short" expiration dates to force people to replace old medication with new... Given the exposure a company has to lawsuits if there is faulty/expired medication, as well as the significant time and effort some of the testing protocols require, I do not see why a company would spend a great deal of effort determing if a particular drug has a long lifespan. Particularly since the patent on a new medication is only ~14 years in length.

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Old 04-10-2009, 04:22 AM
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Most meds are safe and effective reasonably past their expiration date.
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