There are a lot of sample medical
kits and lists out on the web that you can choose from, so you can get an idea of what is commonly accepted as necessary. All medications do have limited lifecycles. Unlike food
, the expiry date on medicine doesn't indicate when a medicine goes "bad" but when it may start to lose 100% dosage and effectivity.
I recently had to open one of my medical
boxes (an airtight Peli case in the bilges) to get out a tube of Flamazine to treat a burn on a neighboring boat, and was shocked at how the contents of the case had deteriorated. A sealed supply of surgical gloves had turned brown and congealed into one big unusable mass. All of the syringes had coverings which had yellowed and the rest of the contents looked aged. This box of the medical emergency
was only 5 years old. Thus it isn't just the medicines that age on a boat (in the tropics) but also all of the other supplies such as bandages, needles, compresses, etc. A couple of weeks before, I had to resort to using a broad-spectrum antiobiotic aboard and I hadn't been refreshing it regularly and found, to my dismay, that it had expired 6 years ago
. This was a shocking reminder form me to regularly check on the expiry dates in the medical kit and add that to my boat checklist.
medical kit will, by its nature, contain antibiotics and analgesics and other medication that is not over-the-counter and you will need to consult with a doctor who will prescribe the medications and large amounts necessary. Once you have decided upon the correct medication, the doctor can help in choosing which actual brand is used (original, generic or other) and when filling the prescription you can talk to the apothecary and explain that longevity and freshness is important.