Q.  I have a prescription for Clexane prefilled syringes x 5.  The expiry date on the stocked product is ‘September 2022’. Can I still dispense this in September?

A. All licensed medicinal products have a printed expiry date on the packaging. The expiry date is the date up to which the manufacturer can guarantee the medicine retains its full potency and stability.

Where a specific day is stated (i.e. day, month, and year) then that is the last day on which the medicine can be used. When a day is not stated the expiry date becomes less clear.

The standard convention is that a medicine should not be used after the end of the printed date. So a medicine that expires ‘September 2022’ must not be used after the end of September. The product’s last day of shelf life is therefore 30th September 2022 and it cannot be used as of 1st October.

Pharmacists should also ensure when dispensing “short dated” medicines that the product will be used by the patient before the expiry date.

In this case, the pharmacist can dispense the prescription for Clexane with the September 2022 expiry date provided the patient will use the product by the end of September 2022.

Expiry dates should not be confused with ‘Use by’ dates which may be found on some nutritional supplements or non-medicinal items. A ‘Use by’ date of September 2022 means the product must be used before that date which therefore gives an expiry date of 31st August 2022.

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