Times report on Extionate drug pricing

Many of you will have read the report in the Times today regarding the £260m to drugs bill which gives an in depth report into how the NHS has paid enormous amounts of money for certain drugs after "businessmen" exploited a loophole. billy.kenber@thetimes.co.uk was the reporter and Sarah Wollaston (She is a GP and my MP) chair of the Commons health select committee, sarah.wollaston.mp@parliament. I urge all members who use T3 and those who have been refused it to contact both with your personal story. After all Mercury Pharma (taken over by a private equity firm in 2012) did get a mention so it is only right and proper that we let the world know about how morally and ethically bankrupt this company is and the human suffering that is caused by their avarice. The NHS is equally responsible for letting this happen. Avarice and idleness at its best.

26 Replies

  • "Interested to hear from doctors, CCG officers and pharma industry on their reaction to this.."


  • It just needs enough people to kick up enough fuss to get the wheels in motion to stop this corruption from continuing. I wonder how many people on this forum who need to take T3 will actually take the time & energy needed to do what you've suggested ? I hope all of them do for their own sake because there's so much more power in numbers.

  • This is a perfect opportunity for us to be heard come on guys lets go for it. We haven't got anything to loose now. All CCGs are probably wiping T3 off their screens as we talk. I am away on business until middle of next week but am going to request a meeting with Sarah Wolloston.

  • A reminder that ex-GP Sarah Wollaston voted for the £30-week cut to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) for sick and disabled people in the work-related activity group (WRAG).

  • Seems 38 degrees have started a petition over it.

  • Link to 38 degrees' petition-


    I've also put this on the other two threads on this subject.

  • The petition now has 107,992 and more signing all the time! As it is now over 100,000 that warrants a debate in Parliament. Yay! Fingers crossed for change............

  • I will email Sarah Wollaston. Was she mentioned in the Times article?

  • Hi Marigold22, yes she was named as the Chair for the health select committee. I contacted Sarah Wollaston's office yesterday with a view to a meeting. Her next surgery isn't until July 1st. Spoke at length with her assistant (probably last person on a Friday afternoon she wanted to speak to) who was really helpful and suggested I send an email as Sarah would be very interested. It's great to hear you are going to email Sarah. I hope everybody on this site taking T3 by NHS or self medicating contact her. It might be a good opportunity for those self medicating to tell her your story you never know. She is GP by profession and only stopped practicing when her parliamentary duties took up all her time. I know some people on the site don't have a lot of time for her because of her vote on disability issues. However, I have sort of followed her (she is my MP)and am surprised she is still an MP she is courageous and a loose cannon. I bet she gives the higher ups a run for their money behind closed doors. I've had reason to contact her a couple of times and found her to be interested and very helpful.

  • I emailed Sarah Wollaston today sending to her MP address, but had to re-send to her as Chair of the Health Select committee. Also as I'm out of her constituency I had to give all personal info. I must apologise here for calling you a 'gent' - brain fog caused me to forget we had had a PM conversation & thought I didn't know you !


    Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee

    Dear Dr Wollaston

    Re: Times Newspaper Article - Extortionate Cost to the NHS for Drugs

    I have been communicating on Health Unlocked Forum (a thyroid forum) with a gent who lives in your constituency. He has advised me that you were a GP, and now an MP and Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee.

    Liothyronine (T3) is classified as a life support drug. Thyroid patients on our Forum who rely on T3 are grateful that The Times newspaper ran the article last week exposing the extortionate cost of certain drugs paid for by the NHS. Liothyronine is one of them.

    Liothyronine is the only licensed product in the UK for thyroid patients who don't thrive on Levothyroxine (T4). Mercury Pharma are the only suppliers in the UK and therefore have a total monopoly.

    All patients who need to take Liothyronine for underactive thyroid are exceedingly worried and stressed, fearing that their prescription will be stopped due to the extortionate price hike by Mercury Pharma. Some people have already had their T3 withdrawn by their doctors, being told that it is now on their CCG’s Black List. This is no doubt, in reality, due to cost.

    Mercury Pharma currently charge the NHS :

    For 28 tablets of Liothyronine 20mcg = £256.20.

    100 tablets = £922.44

    In my own case, I need 40mcg daily, thus costing the NHS over £512 every 4 weeks.

    Liothyronine can be purchased over the counter in many European countries. Furthermore, the prices in these countries cost just pence for a daily dose.

    Sweden - 100 tablets of L-T3 = £21.10

    Finland - 100 tablets of L-T3 = £15.81

    Norway - 100 tablets of L-T3 20mcgs – NOK 254.50 = 27.51€ = £21.65

    Denmark - 100 tablets of L-T3 20mcgs – Thybon 20 Henning = DKK 190 = 25.53€ = £20.09

    Germany - 100 tablets of L-T3 20mcgs -30.15€

    Turkey - 100 tablets of L-T3 – Tiromel = £1.25 (info. from private correspondence)

    Mercury Pharma are morally and ethically bankrupt. The NHS is equally responsible for letting this happen.

    The avarice of Mercury Pharma and the idleness of the NHS together equals much human suffering.

    I sincerely hope you can take immediate action to end this misery and uncertainty.

    Yours sincerely

  • Marigold22 fantastic letter well done to you. I don't mind being a gent happens all the time with my name. Page 19 of The Times today. Bill Kenber has written an article about T3. You know I contacted him after Friday's exposure. Sadly he wanted a mug shot too. Amco are trying to defend their position saying price reflects the difficulty of manufacture. Maybe they need some help from Sanofi-Aventis as they obviously don't find it difficult to manufacture as they only charge approx 1.8 Euros.

  • If it is that difficult, find someone who can make it!

    Mercury Pharma don't actually manufacture!


    Custom Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Conway

    Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LW


    Or buy in finished product from one of the other companies that already makes it. There is no justification for over-charging the NHS in order to ensure the facilities are good enough. If these haven't been good enough, you should be refunding the NHS for inadequate quality.

    The system that the company is so keen to keep going (entrepreneurial capitalism) requires a company to make an investment and, eventually, accrue a profit. Not get all the money from the customer, then continue ripping them off.

  • Is this the reason they sell 28 tablets rattling loose in a little pot instead of being safely and hygienically contained in a blister pack as supplied by Uni-Pharma? I heard somewhere (might have been the One Show or Watchdog or something similar) that if a drug company imports drugs into this country they have to remove it from the original blister packs and either re-pack it into their own blister packs or loose in pots...

  • I don't get it either.

    Seems especially bonkers that some pharmacies (Boots is often mentioned) resolutely insist in then decanting them into child-resistant containers.

    Cannot someone, somewhere, avoid this whole mess? I agree, for all their problems, blister packs do have many advantages.

  • Couldn't agree with you more Helvella.

  • The Guardian says this today (Saturday 04/06/2016):

    Jeremy Hunt asks competition watchdog to look at drug pricing

    The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has asked the competition watchdog to look at claims that drug companies are exploiting the NHS to raise the price of medicines.

    Hunt called in the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after an investigation by the Times suggested that prices have been vastly increased as the result of a loophole in NHS rules.


  • Great article. Some great public responses too.

  • There will never be a drop in drug prices as long as the NHS has to negotiate with drug companies to get the expensive drugs they need to save lives. After signing up to 38degrees I got so much spam it was unbelieveable and relentless and I would never do it again, sorry.

  • Anyone who understands these things would realise you could set up a temporary email account, use it for the signing, and abandon it.

  • How is this relevant? I cannot tell such lies.

  • No lying needed. I am not suggesting any subterfuge whatsoever. Just create an email account with any free provider, sign the petition, and never use it again. If it has the facility, unsubscribe the email account.

  • You can also unsubscribe from 38 degrees.

  • Glynisrose,

    You can abandon a temporary account if you are concerned that signing will attract spam. There is no need to tell lies when setting up additional email accounts.

  • I wish I had read this before I gave my details to 38 degrees!

  • In my experience they will honour your request to be unsubscribed.

  • Thanks!

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