Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Meaning of an Expiration Date

We get a lot of calls from people asking if some prescription they had filled a couple of years ago is 'still good'. I guess I can understand that question, but why does somebody call and ask if they can still use their bottle of vitamins that expired in March of 2007? I've had a string of these types of calls lately.

The fact that they have even looked at the expiration date indicates they have some idea of its significance. So I'm not sure what kind of answer they are expecting from me. Back in good ol' pharmacy school we were taught that for most pharmaceuticals under proper conditions, the expiration date is when they may have lost 10% of their potency. I know there were some studies recently that found many pharmaceuticals maintain potency well past the expiry date, especially if the packaging is unopened.

So yeah, if someone's in a really tight spot and they need to use a product, depending on what it is of course, I might say go ahead. But I get the impression some of these people just don't want to be bothered to buy another bottle, so they'll wait 10 minutes on hold for me until I can finally come to the phone and say, "Naw, I would probably discard it."

Just another puzzlement in the world of retail pharmacy......


Grumpy, M.D. said...

Tell them it makes the vitamins taste better, like fine wine. Suggest they chew a tablet slowly, without any water, and enjoy the well-aged vitamin flavor.

ttpharmd said...

Don't you love it when you tell the person "no, I don't recommend you taking that expired Rx that you found under the seat of your car" and then they try to argue with you as to why they SHOULD be able to take it??


pharmacyonline said...

what's the problem with that? the more these people ask such questions, the more they will get the medication awareness! be positive!lolz