Since the time it has been made mandatory that every manufactured medicine needs to have an expiration date mentioned on it. But that does not signify that your bottle of a prescribed medicine is going to expire the same way as the carton of milk. In reality, the date you see mentioned on the pills are guarantee card that the drug is safe and full potent till the given time. But how long a drog actually remains effective and reliable, is still a matter of great debate.
Some medicine like insulin, liquid antibiotics and nitroglycerine whose active ingredients are known to be less stable than the passing time, certain medicines might have longer shelf life than prescribed in the packaging.
The poison control centre of India occasionally gets a call from the people because they accidentally took the expired medicines. However, there isn’t any peer-reviewed documentation that shows that expired medicines can badly impact people health. The effectiveness might degrade with passing time, but there are no core studies showing the facts.
According to a study, some medicines that are at least 5 years of their manufacturing date still maintained their potency. So, in the case of life-threatening emergency certain medicines past their expiry dates can be a great option.
Developed countries like the US, however, maintains a stockpile of medicines that could be used in the times of need like terrorist attacks or an outbreak of disease.
After expiring people tend to buy a new set of pills, that not only cost a lot to the company as well as on the country economy but also contributing towards a high amount of pharmaceutical waste and biowaste. This is one of the prime reason that is gaining concern with passing time.
This is not referring to the fact that it is okay to use expired medicine, as there is no crisp proof that it is entirely safe or not. A need for comprehensive study and deep facts are needed to clear and improvise the lacking situation.