Drugs in Clinician Sample Closets Often Past Expiration Dates
One in seven drug packages stored in physicians' pharmaceutical sample closets is expired, according to a study reported in American Medical News. An estimated $2.2 billion worth of drug samples go to waste each year as a result, researchers said.
The study, published in the May-June issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, took inventories of the drug sample closets at 10 physicians' clinics in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Of the 12,581 sample boxes or packages examined, researchers found that 14 percent were expired.
While it is unlikely that the expired medicines would pose a danger to patients, the study emphasized the burden that accepting pharmaceutical samples places on physician practices. Closets must be kept organized to ensure that the practice can easily dispose of expired medicines and comply with drug recalls.
"If there's a recall, and you don't know the lot numbers, that's a problem," said Steven R. Brown, MD, director of the Banner Good Samaritan Family Medicine Residency program in Phoenix. "It's very unusual that doctors keep really accurate records. There was a wide variation in the organization of the closets."
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