Consumers Are Furious Over This Billion-Dollar Rx Scandal

Rx Waste, Fraud, and Abuse: $1 Billion in Prescription Drugs Thrown Away Annually

(HEALTHLINE NEWS) Throwing out a few bottles of expired prescriptions you come across in your medicine cabinet doesn’t seem that wasteful, right?

Photo by Chris Yarzab, Creative Commons

But for pharmacies and hospitals, the pile of expired drugs they’re required to toss out adds up to about $200,000 per hospital each year.

That’s according to a recent investigation into The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates by NPR and ProPublica.

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The total cost per year in hospitals across the United States is about $800 million.

When you count the costs of expired medications that are thrown away by pharmacies and consumers, at least $1 billion worth of drugs are being destroyed each year.

“There’s a lot of waste in any hospital system,” noted Dr. Robert Pedowitz, DO, medical director of the Family Practice of CentraState in New Jersey. “From multi-use bottles used once and packages that are never opened, there’s so much we waste on a daily basis based on the expiration date and not because we know that it’s definitely not still good.”

Still, from a safety standpoint, Pedowitz would rather err on the side of caution.

“I’d much rather waste money on things that do have adverse effects,” he told Healthline.

However, if the drugs that are past their expiration date are safe and effective to use, that could save hospitals, pharmacies, and consumers a lot of money during a time when prescription drug costs are skyrocketing.

“Any hospital or doctor would welcome the opportunity to explore and change the way we determine expiration dates,” Pedowitz said.  Read the full story at HEALTHLINE NEWS.