Expired Medications SOP

Last Updated: 7/9/2023

Purpose/ Applicability: 

The purpose of this SOP is to describe the process for properly labeling and monitoring for expired medications.


This SOP applies to all the medications used within the VTH including SAC, LAC, VMSC and MWE. This use of expiration dates is not applicable to services that purchase their own controlled substances for use within bags/kits/etc. (WMC, Farms, ZM, Shelter Med, MWE) unless requested by the service head to dispose of expired medications. All services are still required to follow manufacturer expiration dating and  dispose of expired medications properly. Each service is responsible for monitoring their service areas for expired medications.



VTH – Veterinary Teaching Hospital

SAC – Small Animal Clinic

LAC – Large Animal Clinic

VMSC – Vet Med South Clinic

MWE –  Midwest Equine

USP – United States Pharmacopeia
Expiration – the end of a specific amount of time.

VTH Inspection door sheet – Document that is utilized by the VTH to log the monthly visual inspection done for expired items.  It is turned into the VCM Dept Office once completed.



Expiration stickers
Black Sharpie



Un-opened medications/Ward Stock

  1.  Monthly all medication stock should be reviewed for upcoming expiration.
    1. Utilize the manufacturers’ date on the medication.
  2. Place a sticker on any medications that will be expiring within the next couple of months for a visual reminder. Services may purchase round colored stickers to denote expirations.
  3. Rotate stock when new medications are added to ensure expiring medications will be used first.
  4. Utilize the VTH Inspection door sheets to document monthly inspections of stock.
  5. If expired medications are found, they must be removed from stock/patient care areas.
    1. Non-controlled expired medications can be disposed of in the white Medication Waste buckets or brought to the dispensary.
    2. Controlled expired medications should be returned to the medication dispensary for proper logging and disposing.


Opened Medications

  1. Once a medication has been opened a sticker should be placed on it.
    1. Examples: “Expiration date”, “Date opened”, Expiration date _____; expires in 28 days”
  2. Indicate the date (month/day/year) and time (am/pm) the medication was opened in clear and legible writing, with a sharpie if writing on the bottle.
  3. Indicate the date (month/day/year) and time (am/pm) the medication expires in clear and legible writing, with a sharpie if writing on the bottle.
    1. Each medication once open is only viable for a certain amount of time. 
      1. Check with the medication dispensary for that medication’s time frame.
      2. The medication dispensary can provide the service with a list of drugs that have expiration dates that are not the standard 28 days, per USP.
  4. Once expired the medication must be disposed of.
    1. Taken to medication dispensary for appropriate logging if a controlled substance
    2. Disposal in white/yellow Medication Waste bucket
    3. Taken to medication dispensary for disposal in medication waste bucket if the service does not have access to one

Keywords:Expire, medication, drug, prescription, pharmacy, dispensary, waste, bucket, white bucket, dispose, disposing, manufacturer, date   Doc ID:126686
Owner:Jenny C.Group:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created:2023-03-17 12:13 CDTUpdated:2023-07-14 14:44 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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