Having them work on monitored outdates saves us at least $500 annually just for the microbiology rotation.
We have all seen progressively longer outdates assigned to culture collection materials, kits for rapid and routine identification, and latex or co-agglutination reagents.
But history has demonstrated that outdates are indeed arbitrary and vary based on storage and handling procedures.
Even so, a product's track record and responsible quality control performed by professionals, coupled with industry efforts to increase product outdates, can spell substantial savings for any laboratory.
Controlling our outdates may not solve the entire cost containment problem, but it is a good place to start.
Applying the rpinciples outlined in this article, we can cut the volume of outdated materials by ordering less; use outdates for teaching; and communicate more effectively with dealers and manufacturers.
For example, indole and oxidase test reagents are extremely stable yet may carry unrealistically short outdates.
Food an Drug Administration approval for outdate extension takes months or even years following the submission of reams of quality control data.
It's not unusual for a laboratory to order a six-month supply of reagents only to find out that the shipment that's delivered carries a three-month outdate.