Around 600,000 courses of Tamiflu (osteltamivir) were not taken or were thrown away, scientists have discovered. Only around 45 per cent of key public workers-such as doctors and nurses and emergency services personnel-took the drugs that were supplied to them.
Researchers from the UK's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology made the discovery when they analysed public sewage and waste water. The drug becomes active only when it has been consumed, and so the researchers were able to work out just how many of the drugs that were handed out were actually taken.
(Source: PLos ONE, 2013; 8: e60221; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060221).