If you’ve wondered whether medicines really do need to be tossed after their expiration date, you’re got some company at the California Poison Control System, UC San Francisco and UC Irvine. Researchers from those institutions decided to satisfy their curiosity by testing the effectiveness of eight drugs that had been sitting around, unopened, in pharmacies for years after they had supposedly gone bad.
These drugs were not just a few years past their prime, these medications were a full 28 to 40 years past their official expiration dates.
The tablets and capsules were dissolved and subjected to chemical analysis using a mass spectrometer. That revealed how much of the active ingredients remained in the pills.
Out of the 14 active ingredients, 12 were still at high enough concentration – 90% of the amount stated on the label – to qualify as having “acceptable potency,” the researchers found.
Many drugs are just fine years after they expire