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Clinics have to follow strict regulations for dispensing medicines

We thank Ms Iris Koh for her feedback (Have stricter standards for how liquid medicine is dispensed, Jan 9).

Medical clinics in Singapore are required by law to label all dispensed medicines with the name of the medicine, name of the patient, directions of use, date of dispensing and the name and address of the clinic which dispensed the medicine.

Medicines that are dispensed to patients in their original packaging already carry expiry dates by the manufacturer on the packaging.

In cases where clinics may repackage the medicines into smaller containers, clinics have been advised to either indicate the expiry date and batch number on the new containers or to inform patients of the expiry date of the medicines when dispensed. This is to minimise the risk of patients consuming medicines beyond the expiry date, and allows traceability should there be any safety or quality concerns.  

The expiry date of the dispensed medicines is generally assigned as one year from the date of dispensing, repacking or the manufacturer’s expiry date, whichever is earlier, in accordance with recognised international pharmacopeia standards.

The Ministry of Health periodically conducts inspections and audits to ensure the dispensing of medicines in clinics comply with the labelling requirements and advisory issued. MOH will also investigate any feedback from members of the public on such non-compliances and may take regulatory action, especially when expired medicines have been dispensed. 

We encourage patients to also exercise their responsibility to check in with the clinics should they be unsure of the expiry date of the medicines that have been dispensed to them.

Jahara Ibrahim
Director, Hospitals, Ambulatory Care & Research Regulations
Ministry of Health

Jessica Teo
Acting Assistant Group Director
Vigilance, Compliance and Enforcement Cluster
Health Products Regulation Group
Health Sciences Authority

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