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Can the Sun really turn you green?

I’m not, by nature, a tree-hugger. Nor am I a Sun reader.

By Copperfield

I'm not, by nature, a tree-hugger. Nor am I a Sun reader.

However, in circumstances too tedious to recount, I came across this story. And it made me come over all green. As in, it made me feel sick and gave me an uncharacteristic urge to recycle.

So the NHS wastes £500 million a year on wasted drugs. That's drugs returned to pharmacists – sometimes in unopened packs – because the doctor has had the audacity to change a treatment regime, or the patient has had the audacity to die. These drugs are all binned, rather than recycled.

I was vaguely aware that this went on, but not on this scale. Even if you apply a Sun-story-correction factor of dividing presumed hyperbole by a factor of ten, that's still 50 million wasted quid, which could otherwise plug an awful lot of NHS gaps.

Why are these drugs wasted? Believe me, I've spent a good deal of time on the internet trying to find out. And the best I've come up with is that they may have been kept in ‘a warm place' and therefore degraded a bit, or something.

Oh, please. Even if your average drug loses 10% of its effect, surely it's a no brainer: punters get 90% effective treatment, NHS budget gets a bonanza. Not allowed in health and safety obsessed western civilisation? Fine: send them to the third world. And that's not a patronising approach, sending our pharmaceutical cast-offs to the distant unfortunates, it's an attempt to inject some common sense into the situation.

So well done, my Sun. If they go ahead and set up drug recycling collection points, I'll agree to appear on page three.

Copperfield image

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