Thyroid UK
90,438 members104,806 posts

Is there a problem with supply of Mercury Pharma 50mcg Levothyroxine?

I've been to my local Superdrug pharmacy for my repeat prescription of Mercury Pharma 50mcg Levothyroxine and been told that they can only order in bulk 1000 tablets at a time and that it's now called Amdipharm. They don't want to order them because I'm the only patient of theirs that gets this medication but I've had allergic reactions to other brands. Is what Superdrug telling me correct? They've lied to me in the past so I'm naturally suspicious.

Thank you for your replies.

TT x

35 Replies
oldestnewest

ThyroidThora,

Perhaps Superdrug can only order 1,000 tablets a time through their distributor. Take your prescription to another pharmacy. Independent high street pharmacies aren't necessarily tied to distributors and if they don't have MP 50mcg in stock can usually order for next day delivery. Contact Concordia if you have difficulty concordiarxinternational.co...

1 like
Reply

Hi,

Thank you for your reply.

I've never had a problem getting Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine/Eltroxine from my local Superdrug before. I've been getting the tablets for nearly 5 years so, I'm shocked that they suddenly are saying that they can only buy 1000 tablets at a time now. I've looked on the companies website and it appears it can be bought in a plastic container containing 28, 56, 112 and 1000 tablets whereas I normally get the 28 tablets blister pack. I'll ring Concordia on Monday and see what is happening.

Thanks for your help and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

TT x

Reply

The Patient Information Leaflet on EMC says, just below the bit about pots:

Blister packaging PVC/PVDC film (heat treated foil/heat seal lacquer) containing 28, 56 and 112 Eltroxin 50mcg tablets.

medicines.org.uk/emc/produc...

1 like
Reply

Contact Concordia:

Customer Services

Thank you for your interest in learning more about our company.

We care about your questions and concerns.

To speak to a customer service executive about any of our products, to check availability of any products, or for any issue related to products or services, please do not hesitate to contact us at the below details.

Our normal opening hours and Monday to Friday GMT 08:30 TO 17:30.

Details of our 24/7 emergency Medical Information contact details can be found on the Adverse Event Reporting page (see menu on right).

Capital House, 85 King William Street London EC4N 7BL United Kingdom

+44 (0) 208 588 9441

customercare@concordiarx.com

concordiarxinternational.co...

They will let you know if there are supply issues. And ask your pharmacy to contact them as well.

Can you ask other pharmacies in your area? Just phone round to begin with.

Be aware that Mercury Pharma Eltroxin is identical to Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine - but possibly not all pharmacists will know this.

1 like
Reply

Hi,

Thank you for reply.

See my reply above to Clutter and I'll contact Concordia on Monday.

Have a good weekend.

TT x

1 like
Reply

I'm taking Mercury Pharma ELTROXIN Levothyroxine, and I have no problem getting them from my chemist. I was taking 125mcg, but changed recently to 100mcg. Mercury sold out to AMCo Pharmaceuticals, and Concordia International brought AMCo out. Mercury comes under the umberella of Concordia International, along with AMD Pharmaceuticals, Abcur Pharmaceuticals, and Focus Pharmaceuticals. I hope that's helped.

2 likes
Reply

Hi Rioqueen55,

Thank you for your reply.

The pharmacist said that the tablets will have AMCo written on them. I don't mind provided that the ingredients are exactly the same because I've had allergic responses to other brands.

Bye for now.

TT x

Reply

Hi ThyroidThora,

I always used to support my small local pharmacy. However, over the years they started replacing my usual brands (without telling me or asking if it would be ok) by cheaper ones. I took them back and explained I only wanted my usual brands (I did try to see how the other brands work first for certain medicines: they did not work for me...). To start with the pharmacist told me they would put a note in their order book regarding the brands I required. That worked for a while.. then they started swapping my brands again... when I refused to take them I was told they could not obtain my usual brands anymore.. COST cutting regardless to the fact they did not help me! SO I asked my GP to issue me with different prescriptions - stating the Brand name - and take my prescriptions to a Boots pharmacy (in the nearest small town, 5 miles away), that way I still have the same brands. I still use my local pharmacy for certain medicines in the meantime.

Basically it is a cost cutting situation.... so it might be a good idea to take your prescriptions to Boots or any other pharmacy, if you can, in order to obtain the brands that work best for you, but phone them first to ask if they will be able to supply the brands you need.

Good luck.

Reply

My Boots quite clearly said they only stock Almus (or, possibly, Actavis at times - same thing) in 50 and 100 microgram tablets. They do have Mercury Pharma 25 microgram tablets - simply because Actavis do not make such a dosage.

1 like
Reply

Hi,

I think the problem is that each pharmacy whether a large chain like Boots or Superdrug have their own wholesale suppliers and some wholesale suppliers only deal with certain drug manufacturers. I know that Concordia deal with Alliance Healthcare Wholesalers and if the dispensing pharmacist does not have an account then they cannot provide the drugs.

TT x

1 like
Reply

Alliance is a part of the Walgreen Boots Alliance megagroup. And if Boots can supply 25 microgram Mercury Pharma they obvious have the necessary trading links. So non-supply must be a policy decision, at least, that is how it appears to me.

But what a terrible situation that we patients need to try to understand any of this. :-(

Reply

Hiya,

I agree...it's a cost cutting exercise. They don't give a fig about the effect it has on their patients because, according to them, the active ingredient is the same so there shouldn't be a problem. They don't realise that the fillers and binders are the problem for me and plenty of other people.

Thank you for support.

TT x

2 likes
Reply

I don't have Mercury pharma Levo but Actavis for the 100 mcg and Wochhardt for the 25 mcg. I used to obtain these from my local pharmacy. Then without telling me they swapped these usual brands by trying to push Teva ... was furious as I had previously told the pharmacist I did not want to change my brands and he had made a note in their order book. It was ok for a while then they plaayed their dirty trick again... so left all the drugs a pharmacy and told them I therefore would get my thyroixine from Boots, from now on where they would not swap my brands. I felt quite crossed as I have been trying to support the small local pharmacy. The pharmacist told me their pharmacy group "could not obtain what I wanted"... told him it was all about cost, and he agreed.

Don't let these people fob you off... and take care.

Reply

Thank you for your reply JGBH.

You're right cost seems to be the driving force. I found out that the pharmacists were I live have been told to prescribe the cheapest product were available.

It stinks!!!

TT x

1 like
Reply

My pharmacy also cannot get my Mercury pharma Levo anymore. They say it's not available on their suppliers catalogues to order. They gave me TEVA which I refused. Something must be going on for multiple pharmacys to be having trouble getting hold of the 50mcgs?

2 likes
Reply

It doesn't help when pharmacies say or imply that the product itself is no longer available.

We might understand better if they clearly said that their supply chain does not handle it.

It could just be one major distributor no longer wishing to handle it. Which could affect a large number of pharmacies.

2 likes
Reply

Your theory about one major distributor no longer wishing to handle it...it's the nail on the head!

Reply

Long story short! For me, after problems over the last few years I no longer accept ANY medication made by TEVA. IMO a very substandard pharmaceutical company. I have seen other posts here re TEVA problems so I don't believe it's just me.

2 likes
Reply

Hi Irina1975,

The active ingredient might not be the problem but the fillers and binders probably are... see below.

2 likes
Reply

I agree. In fact that'smy guess. I discovered thru trial and error that generic TEVA levo-in fact for me- generic TEVA ANYTHING is awful. I no longer accept any meds at my pharmacy from TEVA.

2 likes
Reply

My Pharmacist was giving me TEVA 100mcg Levothyroxine, and Wockhardt 25mg Levothroxine. After feeling ill for so long, I did some research, and found that TEVA have an extra filler/ingredient in called Microcrystalline Cellulose, but the Wockhardt ones didn't. I found an old packet of Mercury Levothyroxine, and found that they did not have it in them. I took the Teva for over a year, and was extremely poorly, and at the same time, I found that a prescribed antihistamine, and a diuretic made by Activis, also had Microcrystalline Cellulose. I was itching from head to toe, my hair starting falling out, I put on over 2 stone in weight, insomnia, brain fog so bad, I couldn't string a sentence together, thrush, chronic fatigue, sweating in my head, face, and neck. These are a few of the symptoms I had, some I still have 18 months later. I'm off to see a specialist tomorrow to see if I can get some answers, and to see if the Microcrystalline Cellulose has caused all the problems I have, or wether it is just coincidence. I have had an underactive thyroid for nearly 20 years, and I have never felt so unwell, or had so my problems. Also, although i've always been overweight due to major back problems, my weight for the past few years has remained stable. After doing all of my research into different manufacturers, I went to my doctor armed with all my findings, and said I refused to take TEVA, or Actavis, or anything that contained Microcrystalline Cellulose, and that I wanted Mercury Eltroxin. My doctor told me that when they write the prescriptions out they only write Levothyroxine and the dosage, the Pharmacist then gives us what they have been sent. When I order my repeat prescription from my surgery, I order Eltroxin Levothyroxine as that's what my doctor changed it to on my notes. I guess TEVA and Actavis are cheap, and the Pharmacists have been told to push them. My Pharmacist can't get anything too replace my diuretic, because all he gets sent is Actavis. I have done my own research, and can't find anything either, without them, I have extremely swollen legs, and feet.

Reply

Hi Rioqueen55,

Your symptoms are exactly the same as mine when I was given TEVA and Wockart. I believe it is the binders and fillers and the Microcrystalline Cellulose used probably caused my problems. cellulose is a plant sugar extracted from tree bark, but the ingredients don't state which plant it comes from. I'm allergic to loads of plants and foods and Zylatol is a low GI plant sugar extracted from Birch tree bark and I'm allergic to Birch tree bark. I suspect that it's used in medicines and that this was my problem.

As regards cost, Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine isn't expensive to the NHS. When I last checked out the cost it was less than a cuppaccino at McDonald's.

Do you take blood pressure tablets? I ask because your swollen legs and feet could be a sign of high blood pressure or perhaps you need a higher dose of the Mercury Pharma Eltroxin/Levothyroxine. I got swollen ankles when I was on a very low dose of Levo.

TT x

2 likes
Reply

The BNF has a page of pricing information which may be of interest. The "odd" doses (12.5 in particular) are ridiculously more expensive :

bnf.nice.org.uk/medicinal-f...

Wockhardt doesn't contain microcrystalline cellulose.

thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/treatm...

1 like
Reply

Thanks for your reply.

It's some years since I had Wockhardt so the ingredients may have changed, but I was aware that they were investigated and fined by the Federal Drugs Agency in the USA for poor manufacturing practices at their plant in India. Raw ingredients were stored in open vats in extremely hot temperatures when they should have been refrigerated. Plus, the production staff weren't allowed comfort breaks so they were having toilet breaks were they where working. They've probably cleaned up their act since then but, I don't want to risk it!

TT x

Reply

Hi Thora. I just googled Microcrystalline cellulose -a filler used more and more commonly, it seems, as a filler in meds and foods. It is defined as refined (powdered wood pulp). I 'fast-read 'thru several sites and what I got was what felt to me as info that seemed to downplay any side effects/dangers/etc. One wonders who funded these studies. Pharmaceutical companies do you think? I can't imagine ingesting ground up wood pulp for any reason can be healthy. The one site that gave a little more info was celiac.com. If anyone is interested, try typing in microcrystalline cellulose and read about it. Also, the website drugs.com lists meds that use this as a filler. One person did talk about her hair falling out and another mentioned getting symptoms after eating packaged shredded cheese that contained this cellulose as apparently it is used in foods as an anti-caking agent. I know that packaged pre-shredded cheese, at one time, had corn starch added to keep it from clumping together. I started shredding my own cheese. As bad as the corn starch (probably from GMO corn) was at least it is food. But wood pulp? It's generic term is just cellulose so I would probably read labels and if I saw cellulose I would avoid and assume it's wood pulp. Don't you love truth in advertising? The article mentioned it is also used in some NDT products. irina1975

1 like
Reply

Hi ThyroidThora

I have suffered from swollen feet and ankles since 1990 after having a spinal fusion operation. I had to lay flat for 3 1/2 weeks before being put in a plaster cast. As I had to lay flat for all of that time, and because of the kind of operation i'd had, they fitted me with a catheter so that I had minimal movement. A few months later, my feet and ankles starting swelling, and I was put on diuretics by my doctor. If I stop them, my feet and legs swell. One of the diuretics I have taken for all those years, now contains Microcrystalline Cellulose, and it's manufactured by Actavis. Unfortunately, there is no one else who does the diuretic as its a potassium sparing one. My doctor prescribed me something else, but when I went to get it from the chemist, it came back Actavis again. Not having taken the said drug for months now, has caused my feet, and legs to swell continuously. I did see a specialist today, although my doctor didn't send me to the correct one, so now waiting to be referred to an Endocrinologist. He told me that feet, and legs swelling is also a thyroid problem. I have never suffered with high blood pressure, and it has been taken quite regularly in the past few months. My Levothyroxine dose was changed from 125mcg to 100mcg in December because my TSH went down to 0.3. The specialist told me today that my last TSH blood test showed it had gone up to 2.6 and is stable again.

Reply

Hiya Rioqueen55,

Oh gosh you've really gone through the mill just like me.

I thought you swollen legs and ankles was thyroid linked but I didn't want to alarm you. I think your dose of Levothyroxine needs to be higher because your TSH is quite high even though it is within the range. The swelling is evident that there is a problem. Do you stop taking your Levothyroxine before you have your blood tests done? If not, then they are testing the drugs and not your actual hormone levels. Please PM me and I will do my best to help.

TT x

Reply

Hi ThyroidThora

I thought my TSH level was quite high too, even though, as you say it is within range. My TSH is usuallyaround 1.6. After seeing 4 GP's and a hospital appointment over the past 18 months, I am now being referred yo an Endocrinologist. I have said for months, and months that all my symptoms are thyroid related, but no one wants to listen to the patient. On Monday I had an appointment with a hospital consultant in Elderly Care lol, just because my very young doctor though my swollen feet and ankles was to do with my heart. I have argued with my GP, and told her that I was not being rude, but if she didn't know anything about thyroid problems, to send me to an Endocrinologist so that I can get the help I need. Going to the appointment for Elderly Care, I got the answers I wanted, and someone who agreed with me, and who is willing to tell my GP that I need to be referred to get my thyroid problems soeted out. Actually, I was quite disgusted that I was sent to Elderly Care, i'm only 69 this year lol. I don't stop taking my Levothyroxine before a blood test, I will PM you.

Reply

Update on Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine.

I've phoned Concordia today and spoken to a Customer Service Advisor whom was very nice and helpful.

According to my conversation with the Customer Service Advisor there are no problems with production or supply of 50mcg tablets of Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine. He said to go get my prescription filled by Boots but I explained that it is sent electronically to Superdrug and that they said they could no longer get the blister packs and would have to order 1000 tablets at a time, and that I was the only patient on this brand. He is going to investigate the matter and speak to the pharmacist at my local Superdrug on my behalf to sort it out. Fingers crossed he will sort it out for me.

As regards future repeat prescriptions, I'm getting worried because my local GP surgery is insisting on all repeat prescriptions being sent to one pharmacist electronically and if that chosen pharmacist cannot get your particular medication it will be very hard to shop around to get the medication you need. I've been getting my repeat prescriptions sent to Superdrug for 5 years now and I've not really had much bother until recent months. Superdrug have always managed to accommodate my medical needs.

Thank you to everyone for your replies, your help has been very helpful.

TT x

1 like
Reply

You can refuse to have your prescription sent electronically to local pharmacy and then collect your prescription from surgery. I have told my GP I do not wish for my prescription to be sent automatically to local pharmacy because they give me any cheap old rubbish....

The doctors want to make their lives easier and they are probably getting more bonus points by using the local pharmacy. Also by doing so they are getting MORE control over us, the patients, to do as they please, giving us the cheapest, nastiest medicine they can prescribe. Their is NO consideration about the patients' wellbeing. We must not accept to be led like a herd of sheep... and keep some independence regarding the drugs we are willing to take.

Doctors do not have any right over our bodies, our life.

2 likes
Reply

Boy! Are WE on the same page! irina1975

1 like
Reply

Hi,

I've been getting my prescription filled by Superdrug for nearly 6 years now. I tried local independent pharmacists and Boots and was led a merry dance trying to get my prescription filled because they were unhelpful and reluctant to provide me with the medications I need. Superdrug, on the other hand, were very helpful and would just order in my prescription without fuss. However, the last few months have been rather different. I've been to Superdrug this afternoon and been told that they are having problems getting my Mercury Pharma Levothyroxine because the distributor, Alliance Healthcare, are no longer letting them order the 50mcg blister packs but can only order 1000 tablets at a time. I explained that I'd spoken to Concordia and been told that there isn't a problem. My pharmacist at Superdrug let slip that Alliance Healthcare is owned by Boots. I said that this is unfair and means that Boots can monopolise the situation. I explained that the assistant I'd spoken to at Concordia had suggested that I go to Boots for my prescription because they had all strengths in stock. This ties in with what the pharmacist at Superdrug told me.

It stinks bit time!

X

Reply

The giant Walgreens Boots Alliance...

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walgr...

Or, if you prefer the company's own description of itself:

walgreensbootsalliance.com/

Reply

Thanks, I'm going to have a look at these links.

1 like
Reply

The NHS is quite clear that you have to agree nomination of a pharmacy:

nhs.uk/NHSEngland/AboutNHSs...

1 like
Reply

You may also like...