Shelf Life Extension Program

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To reduce the cost to the military of maintaining stockpiles of certain pharmaceuticals, the United States Department of Defense and the Food and Drug Administration operate a joint initiative known as the Shelf Life Extension Program (SLEP), which evaluates the long-term effectiveness of medications stockpiled by the DoD and other government agencies. The program was established in 1986. [1]

Under the program, medications are tested for safety and stability for extended periods of time in controlled storage conditions. In many cases, medications remain effective for years after their printed expiry dates; a 2006 study by the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found that two-thirds of 122 medications tested through SLEP remained effective for an average of at least four additional years. In 2016, the DoD reported that the program had helped save the department $2.1 billion on replacing stockpiled medications.[2][3]


  1. ^ "Expiration Dating Extension". U.S Food and Drug Administration. 2023-04-27. Retrieved 2023-05-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates". ProPublica. 2017-07-18. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  3. ^ Lyon, Robbe C.; Taylor, Jeb S.; Porter, Donna A.; Prasanna, Hullahalli R.; Hussain, Ajaz S. (July 2006). "Stability profiles of drug products extended beyond labeled expiration dates". Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 95 (7): 1549–1560. doi:10.1002/jps.20636. PMID 16721796.

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Other studies