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MonOct 21

National Check Your Meds Day – October 21, 2024

National Check Your Meds Day, observed every October 21 and sponsored by the National Community Pharmacists Association, prompts consumers to bring their prescriptions to their local pharmacists for review. Pharmacists can remove any prescriptions that have expired, update prescriptions as necessary, and answer consumer questions. If nothing else, it’s a rare chance for consumers to get free medical advice.

History of National Check Your Meds Day

There has always been a distinction between those who directly work with ill patients and those who create pharmaceutical remedies. Pharmacists originally went by the title apothecaries, and are even found in Greek Mythology where Asclepius, who was the god of healing, gave Hygieia the duty to compound his remedies. In ancient Egypt, the medical profession was split into two classes: the ones who visited the sick and the ones who prepared antidotes. In 1683, the city council of Bruges made it illegal for physicians to both visit and prepare medications for their patients. Later on, in the new country of America, Benjamin Franklin assigned an apothecary to the Pennsylvania Hospital, furthering the distinction between the two specializations.

The events of World War II led to big pharmaceutical discoveries, such as new and highly effective medications. The role of the pharmacist also changed due to post World War II events, making it so pharmacists were no longer the makers of remedies, but were still knowledgeable in all medicines prescribed to patients. They went from making medicines behind the scenes to consulting patients directly, offering advice, medical directions, and correct dosage instructions. Now pharmacists have a more hands on role than they did traditionally, and though they no longer make antidotes in house, it doesn’t make them any less knowledgable in their craft.

Officially established in 2017 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Check Your Meds Day is a day for patients to gain a clearer understanding of exactly what their prescribed medication does, how it affects them, if they’re taking them correctly, and if there’s a more cost-effective alternative to what they’re being prescribed.

National Check Your Meds Day timeline

Take two and call me​

Germany's Bayer introduced aspirin.

​Government oversight

United States v. Doremus court case determines the government can regulate how doctors provide prescription drugs.

​Prescription vs OTC

​The Durham Humphrey Bill was passed to define all drugs as either prescription drugs or over-the-counter drugs.

Drug Czar created

​The U.S. created the position of "Drug Czar" to better regulate the dispensing of prescription drugs.

National Check Your Meds Day FAQs

Are my medications safe to take together?

Taking more than one prescribed medication at a time, or taking medication with specific foods and beverages, always has a risk of drug interaction. It’s always recommend that you consult a doctor or pharmacist when starting any new medication.

What pills should you not mix with alcohol?

Consult a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication with alcohol. There are many medications that should never be mixed with alcohol and getting educated by a professional is crucial. 

How long should you wait between medications? 

Always refer to your medication’s instructions and/or pharmacist for information as to how long to wait between medications, as the time period differs depending on the prescription.

How to Observe National Check Your Meds Day

  1. Get 'em checked

    Individuals who take prescription drugs should take advantage of the opportunity to spend some time with their local pharmacist and get their meds checked. Don't miss the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with your pharmacist and become better educated about the drugs you're taking.

  2. Round up friends and family

    Especially for those with elderly friends and family members who rely on prescription medications, encourage them to participate in National Check Your Meds Day and visit their local pharmacist. They will be reassured about their prescriptions (often a source of anxiety) and be more confident when taking their meds.

  3. Promote participation

    Hey pharmacists, do everything you can to participate in National Check Your Meds Day and to promote it through an event or other type of marketing effort. Put a banner up outside the pharmacy and set up a table in the parking lot to let patients know you're fully participating in the day.

​3 Reasons To Always Take Your Meds

  1. Keeps you healthier

    Those who follow their meds regimen reduce risk of getting sick by 26 percent.​

  2. ​Keeps you alive

    Those with similar conditions who consistently take their meds live longer than those who don't.​

  3. Healthy behavior

    Those who strictly follow their regimen are also more likely to live healthier by eating better and exercising.

Why National Check Your Meds Day is Important

  1. Safety first

    National Check Your Meds Day ensures that consumers are safely taking the right doses and the right prescriptions. By participating, consumers can be reassured that their meds are in good hands and that they're doing the right things to maintain good health.

  2. Questions answered

    Consumers should be curious about their meds, be as educated as possible about the effects the meds are intended to have, and what warning signs to look for. By participating in National Check Your Meds Day, consumers can maintain a good relationship with their pharmacist and get answers to important questions.

  3. Good outreach for pharmacists

    By participating in National Check Your Meds Day, pharmacists send the message that they want to look out for the best interests of patients and be proactive in helping to maintain consumer health. 

National Check Your Meds Day dates

2024October 21Monday
2025October 21Tuesday
2026October 21Wednesday
2027October 21Thursday
2028October 21Saturday

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