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A U.S. FDA study showed 90% of more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, “were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.” Is the expiration date merely a way for drug companies to increase sales and profits?

A U.S. FDA study showed 90% of more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter, “were perfectly good to use even 15 years after the expiration date.” Is the expiration date merely a way for drug companies to increase sales and profits?
  • Potency Issues? Or should I say "Potential Issues"

    It makes sense for certain foods (milk, eggs) to have expiration dates. I agree that certain foods should have expiration dates, but some others should never have an expiration date. For example, cheese!

    With medications the reason often cited is "potency"? What does "potency" even mean for a chemical?

    As far as medications go, I hear this argument about potency of medications. What does mean? Do chemicals that are left untouched lose their potency after a few years? Some say, after 10 years, or 15 years. Assuming it does go impotent after some 10 years, why do most medications have an expiration date of a year, or at most 2 years? Obviously, that's a ploy to force consumers to buy more of a product that is unlikely to be ever consumed.

  • Yes, that is possible.

    It's very reasonable to think that drug companies put expiration dates on their drugs in order to increase profits. However, it could also be for legal purposes. For example, if someone has a bad reaction to a drug and sues the company, the company could point to the expiration date and say that the person shouldn't have taken it after that date. Either way, the expiration date is probably just a way for the companies to increase their profits.

  • Expiration No Connection to Sales

    Just because they are perfectly good to use does not mean that the potency may not have been affected. The potency would probably be stronger or they may not even always work. An expiration date is a good idea though but I doubt many people would let medications sit around too long if it's something that's supposed to be making them feel better. I doubt having an expiration date increases sales and profits.

  • No, expiration dates are an exercise of caution and are intended to protect the public.

    No, drug companies are not scheming to increase sales and profits with expiration dates. While 90% of drugs are "perfectly good" 15 years after their expiration date, 10% of drugs are not. Drug companies cannot market a 10% defective product, thus they label drugs with expiration dates to ensure quality.

  • Expiration dates have a purpose

    No, the expiration date is not merely a way for drug companies to increase sales and profits. Any item that is ingested into the body should contain expiration dates and other warnings or guidelines. They may not be absolute deadlines, but they give consumers a good idea of when they were produced and how long they might be effective.


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