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Recycling of Drugs from Expired Drug Products
Published: 02 November 2015 by MDPI in 1st International Electronic Conference on Medicinal Chemistry session ECMC-1

The expiration date is the final day that the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of a medication. In general, most drug products are not toxic when expired but they can lose their effectiveness over time. The decrease in the concentration of the drug in a drug product from 100% to 90% is known as its shelf life. When a medication is used within its shelf life, it shows maximum efficacy and safety.  Recently studies conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over 100 drugs, prescriptions and over-the-counter products, showed that about 90% of them were effective and safe as long as 15 years past their expiration dates. India's pharmaceutical industry is losing around Rs 500 corer annually on account of destruction of expired drugs, hitting the bottom line of drug manufacturers, especially the small and medium ones. In our present communication, we made an attempt to study different methodologies for recycling active drugs from expired drug products or pharmaceutical dosage forms. It is admitted that when a drug product gets expired, it may contain 90% or even above of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient(s). Suitable chromatographic methods and analytical techniques could therefore be adopted for isolation and eventual quantification of active ingredients for the purpose of successful recycling (especially if manufacturers are mandated to blister-package and bar-code for individual tablets and capsules) into useful synthetic intermediates or active drugs. This approach would remain cost-effective as well as eco-friendly from the point of view of its industrial applicability.

Keywords: Shelf-life, potency, blister-package, bar-code, chromatography, isolation