Medicines Best for Barter after System Collapse?


Hypothetical situations for the sake of preparedness are good to ponder.

Let’s think about medicines. The medicines that would be good to have on hand for YOU, and/or for barter & trade.

Lets say that you are living in a time of societal collapse. People are no longer buying and selling with dollars as a medium of exchange. Instead they are looking for value in tangible items that may be needed.

The situation is such that whatever you have, is all you have. If you want or need anything else, you’re going to have to barter and trade for it.

Related: The Most Valuable Items For Barter After The Collapse

Which specific medications and medicines might be valuable or particularly useful for barter and trade?

This might include over-the-counter medicine or prescription medicines.

A few years ago I asked our readers here on Modern Survival Blog to provide their opinion on this topic. I have taken that data and have come up with a list of medicines based on those results.

This is not medical advice.
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1. Ibuprofen (NSAID anti-inflammatory, pain relief)
2. Imodium (treatment for diarrhea)

3. The following are tied for 3rd place:
– Antibiotic ointments
– Antibiotics
– Aspirin (pain, fever, inflammation)
– Benadryl (Antihistamine)
– Tylenol (Acetaminophen for pain, fever)

4. These were more or less 4th place:
– Borax (Anti-fungal, other uses)
– Caffeine (e.g. NoDoz tabs)
– Claritin (Allergy)
– Mary Jane
– Sleep Aids

5. Medicines in 5th place:
– Aleve (NSAID – longer lasting 12 hr dosage/tab)
– Antacids
– Aspercreme (topical pain relief)
– Burn ointment
– Decongestants
– Dramamine (nausea)
– Epsom Salts (muscle relief)
– Gas X
– Midol (menstrual cramps)
– Naproxin (NSAID anti-inflammatory)
– Peroxide (infection)
– Prescription pain meds


My Opinion on Best Barter Value Medicines

Modern medicine has enabled human lifespan way beyond what was once ‘normal’. You might say that we’ve doubled it. How many people comparatively lived past 40 “way back when…”? Some, yes, but many didn’t.


Certainly Antibiotics may be one of the biggest factors, along with many other technological advancements in medicine and procedures.

With that said, if we’re talking about ‘value’ during a post-collapse period, I would put Antibiotics up there at #1. Why? Because it’s literally life saving under many conditions and scenarios. An infection can kill you. It used to all the time…

Life Saving Medicines

There are other life saving or life sustaining drugs and medicines too. Some require refrigeration (which may be gone or limited under a SHTF scenario).

So any med that may be considered life sustaining or life saving may be up there in the top spots for ‘value’ (for those who may need it).

Ibuprofen & Acetaminophen

If we’re looking at statistical demand (quantity) I would estimate that general pain relief medicines will be in high demand. In my opinion, Ibuprofen (e.g. Advil and generics) may be the biggest mover. Followed by Acetaminophen (Tylenol and generics).

Prescription Pain Meds

As far as value, prescription pain meds will surely be valuable. That would include for the addicted (who probably won’t last long after SHTF) and for those who genuinely may need them for pain management.

What Else?

The reader poll list above has Imodium up near the top. Given that there will be large scale ‘food issues’ and people not properly preparing foods in a safe manner, a anti-diarrhea medicine may be of value.

I do not disagree with any of the list above. I might shift the order a bit, but I believe that just about ‘any’ medicine will be valuable for barter after the collapse.

It is a good exercise though to determine what might be more beneficial or valuable than others after the system collapses (which hopefully never happens!).

What’s your opinion?