Yet Another Drug Company Strategy for Parting You From Your Money?

Syndicated newspaper health columnist, Dr. Peter Gott, had an interesting column the other day (  A question had arisen about the so-called "expiration date" posted by the pharmaceutical companies on bottles and packages of their medications. 

Apparently, people are throwing out a lot of very safe and potent medication that is "expired," and replacing it with a new purchase.

Dr. Peter Gott

Dr. Gott wrote: "The FDA conducted one of the largest-known studies for the U.S. military 15 years ago, and it was subsequently reported in the Wall Street Journal in March 2000. The military stored $1 billion worth of drugs for a test program to determine whether it could extend the lifetime of its inventories, which had traditionally been updated every two to three years (at great expense and much effort with disposal). More than 100 drugs were tested, including OTCs and prescription meds. At the end of the test period, almost 90 percent of the drugs were found to be both safe and effective — 15 years after the posted expiration date."

Fifteen Years!!!!  The drug company estimates, written on the bottles, of how long the meds are still going to work are just a wee bit conservative, don't you think?  (There are exceptions: certain drugs do deteriorate much more rapidly such as nitroglycerin, some liquid antibiotics, tetracyclines and insulin).

Could it be that the drug companies are doing using expiration dates to make more money at your expense?  Hard to prove; easy to believe.


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