The FDA states that the expiration date on prescription drugs must be printed on the label or stamped onto the bottle or carton. The discard date on prescription labels is either the manufacturer’s expiration date or one year past the dispense date, reports the North Carolina Board of Pharmacy.
After the expiration or discard dates, medication should be properly disposed of, states the FDA. Expiration dates on medications have been required in the United States since the late 1970s. Manufacturers must guarantee the potency and safety of a drug until the expiration date on the original bottle, says eMedExpert. Over time, the potency of a drug can decrease, making the drug less effective. Some formulations, such as liquid medications, lose potency more quickly than medications in tablet or capsule forms.