SMPH Policy Number: 20

[Adjunct Information]

Policy Title: The Use of Expired Medical Materials in Animals


Expired medical materials (e.g. drugs, fluids, suture material, etc.) cannot be used for any survival procedure performed on live vertebrate animals. Use of such materials is considered inadequate veterinary care as required by regulations set forth under the Animal Welfare Act.
For acute terminal studies in which the health and wellbeing of a vertebrate animal will not be affected and the scientific integrity of the experiment is not jeopardized, some expired medical materials may be used with the following exception: under no circumstance can expired anesthesia, analgesia, euthanasia, or emergency drugs be used in any vertebrate animal.

Role of the Investigator:

  • Investigators are responsible for ensuring that all drugs and medical materials used in their laboratories are within the expiration date. All drugs and medical materials must be labeled with an expiration date.
  • All expired medical materials for use in acute terminal procedures must be stored in a physically separate area from non-expired materials and labeled “Expired Materials: for acute non-survival use only” or equivalent.
  • All expired medical materials for in vitro use must be stored in a physically separate area from both non-expired materials and expired materials for acute non-survival use, and labeled “Expired Materials: for in vitro use only” or equivalent.

Role of the Veterinary Staff and ACUC:

The Attending Veterinarian and the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) are responsible for ensuring that proposed animal activities avoid or minimize discomfort, distress, and pain to the animal. On semiannual inspections, the IACUC inspection team will determine if expired medical materials are being kept in an appropriate manner. Expired medical material deemed not to be stored or labeled appropriately may be confiscated.


USDA Animal Care Resource Guide Policy Manual; Policy #3, August 18, 2006.


Approved: May 4, 2009

Effective date: May 15, 2009