Thyroid UK
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T3 Shortage

I managed to get some T3 today from my Tesco pharmacy, although not all that were ordered on the prescription. I take 40mg daily along with 150 mg of T4. I told her that I had read there would be no more T3 manufactured until June she told me that when Manufacturers have done a certain amount and they consider they have issued enough, they stop manufacturing because what happens is some disreputable pharmacists order a lot and then they sell them abroad! She said it is well known that this happens and in a lot of cases they know who they are but nothing is done about it. She stressed that Tesco do not do this! She had already phoned around to see if any other local pharmacy had any but they were all out of stock. When I said I had read that Asda may have some she tried them but was very curtly told they did not deal other pharmacies. She also told me that there is plenty of T3 available in 5mg dose but because it is much more expensive doctors won't prescribe it!

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11 Replies

It is supposedly a production problem, and MercuryPharma are trying to source some from Europe as a stop gap until their production is back on track.

See my post on this blog


I feel that some of what you have posted does not sound quite right.

The MHRA published this document about international trading and the ethics, legal and moral aspects:

Clearly the responsible bodies are not happy with the idea of individual pharmacies doing this.

The 5 microgram dose is a special import and the word plenty sounds extremely unlikely. They would need the equivalent of something over a million 5 mcg tablets to replace one month of standard 20 mcg Liothyronine. Given the costs, no-one is going to have that much in stock. If they had it, they would never be able to sell it.

RedApple quoted Mercury Pharma the other day.


I know about the selling of drugs abroad, there was a Dispatches programme about it.

What tickles me is when you go into hospital there are posters urging patients to report people like pharmacists for any fraudulent behaviour. What a load of b********s!

....reminds me of my working days with a Cosmetic/Fragrance company when a few pharmacists overbought on certain lines of fragrance and sold them into the ' grey ' market. We girls running the Stores Division often wondered how the guys in the Chemist Division hit their targets !!....took a dismissal for us to learn !

Looking at the prices other than the UK I cannot see the benefits.

My sister has just been discharged from hospital after another three week admission. I found out this morning they have not given her T3 for the whole time she was there despite assurance this would be administered. Why - was the question I asked. Because the hospital pharmacy had ran out!! Was told by a moron who had to repeatedly ask how to spell liothyronine that it wouldn't matter for a few days. I said if you don't even know what it is how can you possibly tell me that. I gave them a lecture on short life of T3 etc etc but they are not one bit interested. I've heard it all now. Going to tackle the GP this afternoon to see if there is a problem with the surgeries pharmacist. Preparing for another battle....

Best of luck!

Thanks Sheila and for your post highlighting the issues with T3. Sorry you are having trouble with getting your medication but glad you have some for the moment. Very worrying isn't it.

Nor does three weeks count as "a few days".

Complaint time? Again.


Yes so very true Rod. Hospital is not a good place to be!

The complaint is en route (to add to the others) for all the good it seems to do but if we don't complain then nothing will change.

That's awful to hear. I'm very tempted to buy a pot of cytomel from Cyprus or whatever, for emergency use in the event of supply problems. That way I'm never put in that position. Clearly liothyronine isn't something places routinely stock, but a hospital... but yeah heard it all now.

Today I told a pharmacist that I'm a couple of weeks away from being bedridden. Let's face it, it when the lack of a medication makes you that poorly, it's crucial to have it.

Today I was told by my GP that a medication that I have been prescribed by my Consultant and which is unlicensed here in the UK has been refused because of the over £700 cost for a six month supply. This drug can be bought for £20 to £30 from a reputable source so I fail to see why the wholesalers and Pharmacists can justify this cost. They are literally ripping of the NHS and holding them to ransom. Now that the GP's are holding the purse strings they are simply going to refuse to pay and once again its the patients that will suffer.

So whats the alternative, I can break the law and buy some from dodgy websites and hope it does not get impounded by customs or get someone to smuggle it in from abroad in their suitcase - thats what my GP has advised I do...BUT even if I do that they wont support me taking it so Im not sure what happens if I then get sick and land on their door step. All sounds a bit short sighted to me having paid to refer me to the Consultant in the first place and while the wrangling goes on I dont get any better.

What was that about the at the point of delivery ... pah!

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