Thyroid UK

Has Anyone Read the DM Newspaper Article Today ?

" How Being Switched To Cheaper Drugs Could Put You At Risk"

This article says it all about the way pharmacies are using the cheaper generic medicines rather than the branded versions....the savings being split between the Pharmicists and the NHS.

There is a sub title .......Are You Taking a Generic Medicine?......... Gulp!

I know a lot of people on most of them listed.

I could almost feel a patient revolt coming on whilst reading it .....

.......What Price Are They Putting On Our Health And Quality of Life?

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19 Replies

Marfit, I've added the link to your post.

My GP practice wrote to advise I was being switched from Effexor to the generic Venlafaxine and I wouldn't notice the difference. I didn't, but I think, as stated in the article, more care needs to be taken to avoid upsetting management of chronic conditions. I also appreciate that NHS must save money wherever possible but patients who don't respond to generics should be trialled on the brand drugs to see if there might be improvement.

Thanks for adding the link Clutter...something I don't know how to do.

Unfortunately many people are experiencing a lot of problems with cheap generics.It doesn't save money when the side effects mean having to undergo extensive investigation in hospital resulting in abandoning the medication,let alone all the suffering by the patient.

Let's hope things will improve in the future .We certainly need better choice and quality of medication for Thyroid problems.

It is not always easy to identify whether one make (whether a "brand" or a "generic") is better than another.

If you are sensitive to an ingredient in the branded form, a generic might be better for you.

In the USA, many patients have been very critical of the leading brand of levothyroxine, Synthroid. Indeed, many much prefer to take one of the other brands/generics such as Unithroid or Levoxyl.

If you started off on a generic, then switching to a brand could be just as bad as switching the other way around.

It is also important to note that the differences between two medicines depends on those medicines - not their packaging and branding. You could easily find that a brand and a generic are more or less identical, but another generic is very different. Indeed, all too often we see differences between batches of the self-same product being reported.

The issues are very real and very important. But not nearly as simple as the DM article appears to say.


Many years ago I had my BP meds changed to a generic. I felt really off and eventually realised it must be the new pills so I wrote out and compared all the ingredients and most of then were the same ( although I suppose you don't really know what the quantities of each ingredient are ) apart from one or two which I now realise must have been the fillers, I went back to my GP and told him I wasn't feeling as good as I had been before the change and he put me on the brand which I have been taking ever since.

When it comes to thyroid hormones, there are so many factors involved, the list of excipients (ingredients other than the active ingredient) are only a starting point - though very important. The MHRA report into Teva levothyroxine took pains to point out the importance of the overall water content which can rise or fall in finished tablets! And oxygen and light can severely affect the product. So it is at least conceivable that the packaging is sometimes as important as the excipients. :-)


Packaging is important - I remember we had a discussion before about not decanting bubble packed pills into different containers. Can't remember which of mine it was I used to leave in their original packaging but I realised from reading the instructions that it was pretty important.

It all seems like a bit of a minefield when it comes to meds doesn't it.

That it does. And the lack of proper advice, readily available to all.

The existence of and other accessible sources helps, but it is not enough.


Thanks Rod, have bookmarked that site.

Is it just me or is it a bit worrying when you look at the information given on this site and then realise that no one ever seems to mention half of the information given about the various drugs.

OK once upon a time an old fashioned family doctor might have known all about you when it came to prescribing but nowadays with locums and rapid changes of doctors within practices etc, doctors probably don't know their patients like they used to when it comes down to what medicines you are given. You really do have to watch out for yourself these days.

Thanks give us even more to think about.....haven't really given any thought to the packaging before,let alone the water content!!

I do often look at the size of these little pills we swallow especially when we start chopping them into bits and wonder.....Can these really make such a difference to our well being? They look so tiny.

Unfortunately it is often the fillers that cause the problems.

However,it's good that your GP listened and helped you get back to feeling good again.

Yes it was good. By the time I got to him I think he realised I had done a lot of work on why ( well my theory of why!) I blamed the pills and it was probably easier just to agree with me and let me have what I had been taking before :-)

From what you are saying,I think our doctors must be related!!

I think things have changed a lot for me since I found this site and started learning about Hypothyroidism.I can at least see the whole of my journey over twenty years or more becoming clear.....the lack of diagnosis and the lack of optimal treatment and the really bad points that unnerved me and left me with anxiety and a lack of confidence now explain themselves.

Thankfully, I can take more control over my own treatment.

Anyway,I deviate slightly.

It has been interesting reading about the packaging of our meds.

Something new to consider.I never really considered why pills were in different packages...i.e. ....blister packs or brown bottles etc..I keep mine in my bedside cabinet drawer for taking last thing at night or first thing in the morning and a large supply of water on top to take them with.

Am now looking into NDT and long term sourcing if I find it works for me.I need to do some ground work as I don't really want to be sending abroad every couple of months if I can use a supplier here in to get a prescription first it goes on!

Apart from changing me to a generic ( and that must have been about twenty years ago now) I don't suppose they have time to tell you everything about how to look after your meds - apart from the obvious things.

Sometimes the pharmacist might tell you if there is anything unusual about them (mine always does) but I think people really need to take more responsibility and do things like researching their medicines or even just things as simple as reading carefully through the leaflet that comes with them and questioning anything that isn't clear.

I'm like you - it never ever occurred to me there might be a reason for blister packs and dark brown bottles. Yet it is something that is so important.

We still have much to explore and understand Fruit and Nut case don't we? on and on we go.

I'm a bit worried about your pharmacists though!

How many have you got through???????

I do hope it was a spelling mistake x

Whoops! Fortunately it is a typo - my auto spell drives me mad.

I know what you mean.

Good to smile at them sometimes ....the things they come up with X

Read this yesterday Marfit and cheap meds are certainly affecting me and my son and damaging our health. Would not be so bad if we could even buy our own meds of a decent quality, but they don't help us to help ourselves in this country. janet.

I'm sorry to hear that both you and your son are suffering and it's probably putting extra stress on you having his welfare to think of too.I agree with you about meds.I would willingly pay for something decent that I could have confidence in. My health is still important to me even in my 70s.I wish you and your son well x

I am closing this post/thread to replies simply because the original poster, marfit, has left the forum.

(The name Hidden means that the person is no longer a member.)

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