Hi, Mr Creekmore,
I just discovered your blog, and I am thrilled! My husband and I are seriously into prepping, and your blog was a godsend!
In your blog, “Ten MORE Things You Can Do NOW“, you had a commenter named Bryce who stated that medicines past the expiration date lost their potency, and became poisonous. I wanted to comment on that fallacy, but your comments were closed. I think the truth of this needs to be made public, so I am contacting you.
My husband doc retired from the US Navy after 20 years as a Chief Petty Officer. In service, he was a Medical Corpsman and Technician. As part of his duties, he set up and maintained aid stations and labs, so he is very knowledgeable about medicines. Still, I raised an eyebrow when I was inventorying our survival supplies and found painkillers 2 and 3 years past the expiration date! (We’ve only been married 6 months.) doc laughed and told me that while in the Navy he routinely stocked entire stations with outdated medicines and medical supplies!
The military had the FDA do tests on medicines and medical supplies to determine how long they remained potent after the expiration date. The military had huge stockpiles of such things; if they had to throw these things out and replace them the cost would be astronomical! The FDA found that 90% of over 100 OTC and prescription drugs were perfectly fine 15 YEARS after the expiration date. Some of the potency had decreased, but most of the original potency still existed, enough to make the drugs effective. If the drugs were stored in a cool place, such as a refrigerator, the potency was extended.
Drugs such as nitroglycerin, insulin, and liquid antibiotics do not have this long shelf life, of course.
Have you ever wondered what Big Pharm does with all the expired medicines they have returned to them? They sell them, at a discount, to Third World countries.
Hope this helps clear things up a little.
And a follow-up letter regarding the Shelf life of prescription medications
My wife just told me about your blog. You can do a lot to help people. I in a small way have been working in the medical field for over 20 yrs.
One of the many things you have to consider when working with expired medicines is to inspect the pills. Some of the things to look for are: Are the pills in good shape? Have they expanded in size? Are they getting powdery (disintegrating)? Have they changed color? If any of these things have occurred, the medicine should be discarded. If you can place them in a vacuum sealed bag that is ID ed with the proper dosage pills should last for at least 10 yrs.
I would be willing to answer more questions on this, but I don’t want to write a textbook! We could make this an online contributory thing, if you want; I will be glad to answer questions and comments. We have been preppers for over 10 years, but still feel like we’re just beginning! This is why these online forums are so important, because it allows us to disseminate the information we will need to survive.
M.D. Adds : as with anything dealing with health please read our Disclosure Policy.