Pharmacy Policy: Expired/Damaged Pharmaceutical Items

What are expired/damaged pharmaceutical items?

Expired/damaged pharmaceutical items are part of the pharmacy policy and procedures.

As usual with most of the policies sample posted here, there is some default data that should be listed in the policy header and footer. Below are some of the info that you need to include in your expired/damaged pharmaceutical items header:

  • Hospital name, obviously.
  • Pharmacy department operational policy and procedure, this header just to notify the reader that the following policy belongs to which department.
  • Policy code or Number, for filing/indexing purposes.
  • Edition Number, same purpose as above.
  • The title of the policy, in our case; would be Expired/damaged pharmaceutical items.
  • Important dates [date reviewed, approved date, effective date, and due for review date].
  • Applies to [department] in this case it should be pharmacy department
  • And last but not least, you’ll mention the nature of the policy, whether it’s going to be multidisciplinary or department-specific. (Departmental specific)
Expired/Damaged Pharmaceutical Items
Expired/damaged pharmaceutical items

Expired/Damaged Pharmaceutical items Policy


This policy describes all pharmaceuticals expiring or becomes damaged in all pharmacy sections and patient care areas in the hospital.


To indicate a system for controlling all outdated/damaged drugs to assure patient safety.


  1. All medications expiring on a specified date are subject to the following rules:
    • Expiry: month/year: e.g. (Dec/2018)-this is considered to be expired on the last day of the month.
    • Expiry: day/month/year: e.g. (07/Dec/2018)-this is considered to be expired on the specified date of that month.
  2. Any damaged medications should be separated from the pharmacy stock and return to the pharmacy store for replacement.

Procedures and responsibilities

Pharmacy Supervisor

  • The expiry date of all pharmaceuticals should be physically checked monthly under supervision of the pharmacy supervisor at all pharmacy sections and patient care areas.
  • Near expiry report (6-month ahead) should be generated from hospital information system and those drugs should be stocked separately in outpatient setting and (3-months ahead) for inpatient setting.
  • In case of non-availability of far expiry batches, those near expiry batches could be utilized in outpatient basis for one additional month (up to two months ahead of the specified expiry date).
  • In case of non-availability of far expiry batches in the inpatient basis, those near expiry batches could be utilized up to the specified expiry date or new expiry batch received.
  • An accumulative computer report showing expired drugs per month and year should be kept in a separate file at pharmacy.

Pharmacy Supervisor/Pharmacy store Manager

  • All drugs with remaining shelf life (3-months ahead) shall be withdrawn from all patient care units and to be returned to pharmacy store.
  • Any damaged medications should be separated from the pharmacy stock and return to the pharmacy store (if it’s closed box/packets), or discarded it in the pharmacy if it’s loosed, following the Destruction of Expired/Damaged Pharmaceuticals Policy.


Attachment A- Return to stock form.

You’re almost done and pharmacy Expired/Damaged Pharmaceutical Items policy is almost ready, what’s remaining is just a few basic policy layout filling.

  • References.
  • Revisions: Revised as per timescale.
  • Distribution: Here you should mention where this policy will be sent, and which departments will get a notification for it:
    • Medical/Hospital Director.
    • Nursing Director/All Nursing Units.
    • Quality Management Department.
    • Pharmay Department.
    • Signed Originals are maintained in Manual & Indexing Office.

The policy is now finished, and it’s time to get proper signatures, whether your hospital is implementing electronic signatures, or manual sign and stamps.

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