The recall earlier this week of a batch of Alesse birth control pills sold past their expiry date has raised questions about whether it’s safe to take over-the-counter and prescription medications beyond their best-before marker – and just how long past? “I think it would alarm a lot of Canadians if they knew that there isn’t a lot of study on this,” said Phil Emberley, director of pharmacy innovation at the Canadian Pharmacists Association. Drug manufacturers must provide evidence on the potency and safety of products related to short-term exposure to light, heat and humidity in order to get market approval, but they aren’t required to furnish federal regulators with data on long-term shelf-life, Emberley said from Ottawa.

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