Every year in the United States medications are thrown away because they are past the expiration date that is stated on the bottle. This results in the waste of $765 billion dollars a year in thrown-out medications, which is one fourth of our total health care spending.
However, multiple studies have shown that medications remain fully potent long past their expiration dates. A study in 2006 found that on average, medications are still fully effective for four years past the expiration date on the bottle.
The American Medical Association has tried to get the FDA to lengthen the expiration dates based on the studies, but the effort has not been successful.