Why is Mercury Pharma liothyronine (T3) so expensive on a private prescription?

To cut a long story short my GP won't prescribe me T3 on an NHS prescription but will give me a private prescription for it. I've just spoken to Boots who will need to order it in but the price for 28 x 20mcg tablets is over £130!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm just wondering if there's anywhere I might be able to find it more cheaply as this seems beyond a rip off to me and I won't be able to afford it in the long term :( Any ideas greatly appreciated :)

Replies via Private Message please in line with posting guideline #22, thank you, Clutter

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  • I actually think it is a rip-off by Mercury Pharma. Nowhere, I believe, in Europe is it so expensive and we don't have an alternative in the UK. It cannot possibly cost so much to produce. Mercury Pharma also stopped the production of Eltroxin which was the brand name for levothyroxine in favour of the generic brand with the result that many who've taken Eltroxin for years has suffered. I think 'money' 'profit' is the name of the game.

    Someone who gets T3 will private message you.

  • Never go to high st pharmacies. Superdrug quoted me £280for 100 armour tabs. It was only 35 quid inc courier from pharmarama, all done online

  • A few years ago Mercury Pharma (when they were called Goldshield) changed the product from being the branded Tertroxin to the "generic" liothyronine. Same product in every way.

    In the rules for medicine pricing, there are controls on the pricing of branded medicines on the basis that they have no or limited competition whereas generics compete both against the branded medicines and among themselves.

    However, in the case of liothyronine, there is no competitor with this being the only UK-licensed product. But the price controls don't apply because it is notionally a generic.

    Funnily enough, the price has rocketed from around £15 to the £130 you quote in the time since it changed name. Coincidence? I think not.

    That is one reason that even those like you with private prescriptions often do not buy in the UK.


  • thats pretty much what the NHS is paying too

    Such is the failure of NHS to rein in Mercury pharma profiteering

    you can get it cheaper elsewhere in the EU

  • If anyone who does get T3 could message me to let me know how I could get it more cheaply I'd be really grateful :)

  • I sent you a private message last night with two options.

  • Hi helvella can you private message me please to tell me where to get good but a goddd priced T3 online? Thankyou

  • Hi Helvella.

    Dr.P thinks I cannot convert and am toxic with T4 hence my inner trembling and headaches. He has told me to stop the Erfa, do a 24 hour urine collection, and then trial T3., both of which are very expensive to buy. I have been told that some T3 is cheap eg Turkey or Greece.

    Please can you pm me where to safely buy T3 more cheaply online? I have been told anything from £16 to £140 for a box of 100 of the 25mcg tablets and am worried that if I but the cheaper one I am buying a "bad" tablet which could make me very sick, just because it is cheap. I would really appreciate your help. I can't believe there can be such a vast price difference for the same drug and am very nervous of doing this.

    Dr P has given me two sites, one in the US which is terribly expensive and the other in Mexico which does not have stocks right now. I just can't afford the high prices and my GP can't justify the cost. My pharmacy told it would cost them over £100 for just 28 tablets! Many thanks. Urgent.

  • If your GP will give you a private prescription, he must think that you need T3. In that case there is no reason not to give you a prescription to get it on the NHS.

  • Exactly! They've basically said that it's because I saw the endo privately so I'm not on an NHS 'pathway' with my treatment! It's shocking really :( I'm in the process of trying to get referred to an endo on the NHS now to pacify the GP but it seems like a total waste of resources and time when I'm perfectly happy with the endo I've seen privately :(

  • Thanks helvella - I don't seem to have received it for some reason? Have checked my inbox and it's definitely not there so not sure if I'm doing something wrong..............?

  • I thought I was fortunate when my GP offered me a private prescription for a medication (sucralfate) as the NHS say they can't obtain as not currently being produced in the UK. The tablets were 11p each from a UK online pharmacy, but when they realised they had to obtain them from outside the UK on a private prescription they became £46 for 60 tablets. I purchased 120 for a similar price myself online from outside UK. Quite expensive when I am also buying NDT rather than the Levo the NHS will provide me! We appear to be ripped off in the UK .

  • Because the NHS or whoever negotiates with the pharmaceutical companies over what can be prescribed in the UK are very poor at bargaining! It's cheaper to buy your own from Mexico or other EU countries.

    Oddly enough, the prices of brand name meds are fixed, but generics aren't, so they aren't always cheaper.

  • Just had a look at Tiromel on [edited to remove website] and it looks like it's being marketed as 'fat burners'? Do healthy people seriously take T3 to try and loose weight? I'm slightly amazed!!!!!!!

  • I would not touch anyone selling like that.

    They are in a position which does not encourage me (or, I'd hope, anyone else) to trust them.

    Some products which mention "T3" are nothing at all to do with thyroid hormones.

  • Tiromel is T3 manufacturered by Ibdi Abrahim in Istanbul and is T3, not a steroid or fat burner.

  • Also just realised my brother is on hols in Turkey at the moment- would he be able to just walk into a pharmacy over there and buy some T3 and bring it back to the UK?

  • We have seen a number of people say they have done just that in various countries.

    So long as he does so in such a way as to make it obvious that he is only doing it on behalf of a family member, including only a modest quantity such as only a few months worth, I think it would be OK. Carrying more could make him look deeply suspicious and Turkey isn't in the EU so customs are important.

  • Jules, my sister has bought me Tiromel OTC from a pharmacy in Turkey. He had to order it in but it was available the next day. 70Lire (just over £1) for 100 x 25mcg.

  • I am on a trial of T3 with my Nhs Endo......so you should be able to get it - I think your Dr is being difficult or jobsworth but yeah you will get it on NHS if you get appointment. Goodluck

  • My GP practice was instructed not to prescribe T3 by the local CCG. Endo prescribed and GP practice issue repeat scrips though.

  • Really....Yeah my dr wouldnt give me it as she said she hadnt even heard of it (Is this true or are they just fibbing - said is it summit new?)but now endo said I can have a trial she is doing it no probs....pharmacy gettingit in.

  • Anuba, T3's been around since 50s/60s. Presd. John Kennedy used to take it. Med students aren't taught that there are alternatives to T4 for hypothyroidism so your GP wasn't necessarily fibbing.

  • Thanks all - can't believe in Turkey it is just over £1 for 100 x 25mcg!!!!!! Just shows how badly the NHS is being ripped off by Mercury Pharma over here :(

  • Your GP is taking the p**s. I've messaged you a couple of websites. Turkey is definitely a popular place to get it from. Your brother should have no trouble bringing some home, but if he goes with a copy of your scrip and finds a pharmacist who speaks English and is up front about what he's doing, the pharmacist can tell him what else (if anything) he needs to do to take it out of the country without offending any custom laws.

  • I am in Germany and was given a prescription for a t3 med - 20mcg Thybon - and it cost me €30 for 100 tabs. That is like twenty-five quid. Unbelievable that it costs so much in the UK, what the eff is going on?

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