Wrote to my MP about cost of T3 in Crete and he replied

Following my recent blog to say I had bought T3 in Crete for 1.20 euro a box of 30 - 25 mg tablets, I wrote to my MP and asked why I can buy it for this price in Crete and Murcury Pharma charge the NHS £56.00 for a box of 28 - 20 mg tablets.

He replied - " I understand your frustration. The UK's regulation of the drug industry is drastically different to that of Crete. In many cases only one supplier is authorised and when that single supplier encounters problems the supply falls and the price subsequently increases."

This seems like a typical politicians reply, there is nothing to say it could be looked at, he doesn't even seem worried about the difference in cost. No wonder the NHS has no money. Perhaps you can tell me how long the cost has been £56.00 because he seems to be implying that the cost has only recently been high due to the shortage. And I also want to know why there is only one supplier. That surely is the main reason for the high price, they have the monopoly and that has to be wrong in any industry.


9 Replies

  • The information as to cost over several years can be found here:


    I do not believe that the cost has increased due to any shortage - real or apparent. It simply went up a lot between the old Tertroxin days and now. (Make sure you check both Tertroxin and Liothyronine - although the same physical tablets, they appear separately listed.)


  • I think the cost of many drugs increased between 2008 and 2009, that was when I stopped taking hydrocortisone for a while. The original prescriptions had cost me about £12 for three months on private prescription, when I re-started in 2009 the price had gone up to £70+ for three months and that was when I found them available OTC in Greece for a minimal cost. I don't know if it was a general price increase negotiated with the NHS or if individual companies increased their prices but I do remember Dr S's receptionist telling me that T3 had also increased and that some patients now had to pay extortionate amounts.

    The hydrocortisone I bought in Greece has the stamp of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology (IFET) on each packet and they seem to either arrange production or source the cheapest drugs for the Greek market, especially those not available otherwise. They also seem to source non-licensed drugs which is interesting! My niece, who's a pharmacist, has told me that some European countries have state-run, or endorsed, pharmaceutical labs making generics of the main drugs, and says that's why some European countries have cheaper meds. When I tried to discuss the prices with my GP she wasn't at all interested and I think it's yet another problem with a state run health system. Normally patients don't pay or have much idea what their meds really cost so they don't complain about them or have the opportunity to shop around, while whoever sources drugs for the NHS has a budget and either simply pays until the money runs out or rations certain drugs from the start.

    Good luck with trying to do something about this, your MP seems to suggest that our regulation of the drugs industry is superior by virtue of paying more for them and having only one supplier in some cases!

  • ...glad I retired to Crete ! :-)

  • Marz - I think we should all retire to Crete! And, by the way, my MP is a GP


  • Overall, the UK has among the lowest drug prices in Europe. There are a few (mainly slow moving lines) with unusually high prices in the UK, liothyronine being a good example. The Dept of Health does not worry about this because most of the drugs sold in the UK are less expensive than elsewhere, sometimes much less expensive.

  • We have a miraculous drug 'refund' scheme here in Ireland. Which is supposed to 'pay' for patients drugs over a certain moderate amount per month.

    It turns out that it's actually a revenue generation scheme - I somehow get to pay similarly outrageous prices (of similarly many many times more than the marked pack price) to what you guys do in the UK for my T3.

    It's not for one moment possible to accept that these prices can be justified.

    How can they be? It's completely irrational to suggest that if a factory can develop and manufacture the medication (which includes taking care of the quality control and distribution) at the listed pack prices in many European countries that this sort of mark can be necessary here.

    When all and sundry (politicos, ministers, bureaucrats etc) pointedly try to look like they are doing a job but somehow ignore the elephant in the room it tends to be a highly reliable signal that all is not well - that there's likely a powerful vested interest (or perhaps several) in the mix.

    That fundamental reform is required.

    It'd be very interesting if a competent person (as in an investigative reporter) was to get stuck in and follow the money trail - and return hard data..

    Would it be possible I wonder for an organisation like Thyroid UK to commission a private investigation team to establish and publish the story??

    Might it be possible to do something similar in respect of general practice and the resulting patient case histories?

    We dance around the campfire making responsible noises, and hoping the system will over time resolve stuff. It isn't doing so, and whatever progress there is is dragged kicking and screaming from what is a disinterested and unresponsive tangle.

    Is it perhaps time to drive a truck through the whole sorry mess?

    It'd require a sizeable fund to pay for an investigation, for professional and legal support, for insurance, and to subseqently cover the cost of publication...


  • May be it would make a good TV documentary?

  • My gp told me...after looking in the book.....that t3 was 26 pounds!

  • Hi Polly, I really don't know, I was told £56.00 on this forum and admin seemed to agree. My MP didn't dispute what I told him and didn't really seem to think it mattered!

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