Is this a poorly worded headline or is it just me? Expired drugs may remain effective and safe to use for those in remote areas
The story itself does make sense, but the title reads a bit like “let the uncivilized folk eat the garbage medicine.”
And hey, if the stuff stays good for years longer than we’re told, why should the rest of us throw it away? Somebody’s ripping us off even more than we thought.
Even medicines that are years past their expiration date and haven’t always been kept in strict climate-controlled conditions may still retain their original potency, a small study suggests.
That is good news for people working in remote areas of the world where sometimes an expired medication is the only one available and the alternative is having no way to treat a serious illness, the study authors write in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine.
“The expiry date on a drug packet is the last date a drug company will guarantee the drug content and stability when stored in the recommended conditions and in the original packaging,” said lead study author Dr. Emma Browne of the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit in Plymouth, U.K.
In some parts of the world, doctors face the difficulty of getting medicine more than once a year. It can also be costly for small communities or expedition groups to replace unused drugs “just in case,” she added.
“The doctor must decide if it is safer to give an out-of-date medication or not treat a condition and hope the person gets better, which is a huge ethical dilemma,” she said. “As we push the boundaries of exploration, for example with missions to Mars, the long-term stability of medications becomes even more important.”