Where is UK levothyroxine made?: I don't what to... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK
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Where is UK levothyroxine made?

DaizeeFoo
DaizeeFoo

I don't what to go into the politics of it but come the day of the UK leaving the EU, is there any possibility supplies could be disrupted?

It's been playing on my mind, sorry if it's been discussed before.

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62 Replies
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Yes I share your concerns, although I don’t take Levo. It’s difficult enough as it is. Difficult to get through to doctors on phone, impossible to log on to website or get an appointment, difficult to get prescription on time, difficult to get pharmacy to obtain required brand in time. I feel as though I reinvent the wheel with every prescription as it is. Did I see a headline about Teresa May saying UK would need to stockpile meds to prepare for a no deal Brexit just in case - or was that so called fake news? I feel as though the stockpile needs to be in my fridge so that I can sleep at night.

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Aurealis

You might find this article of some interest:

huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/...

(Not my favourite site. :-( )

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to helvella

My worry is that they’ll stockpile Levo only, or TEVA only, or that even though there might be a stockpile somewhere in the UK I’d be unable to get any in time due to normal chaos and inefficiency plus Brexit induced chaos!

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to helvella

Yes that’s the drift of the article read

LAHs
LAHs in reply to helvella

That's funny, I don't like the Huff post either and recently unsubscribed. Takes a lot for me to do that (except for vulgar Ads, I spend half of my computer time unsubscribing from those, not that it makes much difference).

Hidden
Hidden in reply to LAHs

It seems that once I sign up for someone's newsletter I find it is mostly marketing and precious little in depth info. It also seems impossible to unsuscribe once they get your email address. Many send one or more emails a day! If I had a dollar for every minute I spend trying to unsuscribe and empty my email inbox I would be on a round the world cruise in a first class cabin!

RedApple
RedAppleAdministrator

DaizeeFoo, Details of UK thyroid meds, including manufacturers, are downloadable from the main TUK website on this page thyroiduk.org/tuk/treatment...

helvella
helvellaAdministrator

Mercury Pharma levothyroxine (including Eltroxin) tablets

Manufacturer: Custom Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Tecore House, Conway Street, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 3LW, UK

Actavis levothyroxine tablets

Marketing Authorisation Holder and Manufacturer: Actavis, Barnstaple, EX32 8NS, UK.

Wockhardt levothyroxine tablets

Manufacturer: CP Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Ash Road North, Wrexham, LL13 9UF, UK

Teva levothyroxine tablets

Manufacturer: PLIVA Croatia Ltd, Prilaz baruna, Filipovica 25, 10000 Zagreb, CROATIA

(In each case, I have only checked ONE dosage. It is possible that not all dosages are made in the same location. Further, I have checked what appears to be the current online version of documentation. However, it is possible that this is out of date or will change at some time.)

Most of the information you might want is available here: medicines.org.uk/emc/

But Teva keep their documentation on their own site: tevauk.com/ (You need to declare that you are a healthcare professional to gain access.)

I have not looked at liquid products.

The trouble with this information is that it doesn't identify sources of ingredients (active pharmaceutical ingredient or excipients). Interruption to ANY ingredient, packaging, etc. could delay a manufacturing run. Even the substances used to test the finished product, workers' safety equipment, factory spare parts, and pretty much anything else you can think of could have an impact.

The trouble with that statement is that we simply do not know enough to make any sort of informed assessment even for us as individuals. Nor do we have any idea what steps the companies and the NHS might be taking to minimise the possible impact.

Sheffield6
Sheffield6 in reply to helvella

That is interesting because I’m allergic to Teva.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Sheffield6

I don't know about anyone else but I have had bad experiences not only with TEVA'S levothyroxine but also with other generic medications they make. At times their pills looked like a toddler's attempt at making perfectly round cookies. I would rather do without than take any TEVA products again. I also think their fillers are a large part of their problem. Just my opinion. irina

Espeegee
Espeegee in reply to helvella

Excellent Helvella, I thought that article was irresponsible! The one thing you can guarantee about businesses is that they are always on the look out for new markets and if it came to pass that our supplies from the EU were going to be stopped (highly unlikely, they need our trade!) then there would be a queue of other manufacturers shouting “have mine, have mine”.

Thank you all.

Yes I wonder about sources of ingredients and once we leave the EU, whether as stringent manufacturing and testing laws will take place. Ok I may be paranoid but I am concerned about what chemicals I am taking.

You can't even stockpile with repeat scripts because the chemists can refuse to dispense them too early.

If the NHS has no money as the government claim, how can they afford to stockpile essential medicines? I would suspect that could go into the 10'S if not 100's of billions of pounds.

I’m also concerned about liothyronine which I’m reliant on following the complete removal of my thyroid gland as a result of cancer.

shaws
shawsAdministrator in reply to katemary

It must give many people nightmares if they are reliant on one particular hormone to give them good health and to keep it.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to shaws

I feel spoiled at times that I am able to get the meds and brands I need most of the time. (US). Especially when I read the news with all the catastrophie s that happen world wide daily including man-made. And most people who lose everything no longer have the meds they need to cope with their situation.

If it's only T4 you need, it's available all over Europe over the counter without a prescription. I have friends who live abroad who buy it and post to me, it's not expensive or hard to get. T3 you need a prescription and a whole other ball game. I don't take T4 anymore it doesn't work for me. But my partner was stopped at Calais bringing 10 packets of 100 mg back for me and was searched. Customs were not interested as it's only a hormone not a drug. Ask friends & family to buy you a stockpile when abroad on holiday. They can post them to you if they have concerns about Customs. With regards to Brexit I would have thought medication should be top of their agenda. What are they going to do let all hypothyroid sufferers slip into a coma and die? Don't think so.

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Lulu2red

There are issues with that approach:

The need to switch makes (given the recent issues with the reformulation of French levothyroxine, this is extremely important);

The possibility of disruption to mail and other transport - even going yourself might not be as easy as it is today;

Levothyroxine is not over-the-counter in all European countries - Germany and Ireland, for example.

The need to act in advance - which is what this thread seems to be about.

The government seems to be putting out a message that the risk of disruption to food supplies is minimal, they are nonetheless going through planning for it.

Stockpiling of medicines is definitely occurring. But the idea that they can just whizz off and fly in whatever is necessary might not be quite as straightforward as they appear to be assuming given the many questions over continuing air traffic at the point of leaving. And levothyroxine will be at the end of the queue as it has a reasonably good shelf-life.

Also on Tuesday, health secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that the Department of Health and Social Care is working with industry to stockpile drugs, medical devices and supplies, with the focus on medicines with a short shelf-life that may need to be flown in if there is disruption at British ports.

theguardian.com/politics/20...

WGVAL
WGVAL in reply to helvella

I am from Austria and sometimes forgot my Levothyroxine when I was traveling, It was no problem to get it over the counter in Italy, Greece, also Austria. Tell them you are a patient on this medication, usually it is not a problem.....but had to go and see a doctor to get prescription in the UK (and the prescription took almost one day, had to come back in the afternoon, very complicated the whole process.) If you need NDT you will need a prescription from Gp or Endo and then can get it from Receptura Apotheke in Frankfurt or Kloesterl Apotheke in Munich, as well as Weltapotheke in Vienna. Send email with your prescription, they will send you order form and bank form for payment. You will have to send the original prescription by mail. As soon as they have this, they will send you the medication. I can understand your worries, but don't

be afraid, you will still be able to count on Europe, even if you have a problem in the UK. I keep my fingers crossed for you that everything will work out fine (and as an anglophile I am sad about Brexit:(

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to WGVAL

Thank you for your response.

Ironically, UK law allows pharmacists to supply small "emergency" quantities of levothyroxine (and many other medicines that are prescription-only) provided they are convinced the patient needs it urgently.

Appreciate your reassurance but I think that the issues could be very deep and go on for a long time.

There is currently no certainty at all about cross-border prescriptions. It seems quite possible that the rest of the EU will cease recognising UK prescriptions. This might be out of ignorance and uncertainty or because they are genuinely no longer valid. The current system is described here:

europa.eu/youreurope/citize...

Also, if mail, both letters containing paper prescriptions and packets containing medicines, is interrupted, good-will on both sides might count for nothing.

DaizeeFoo
DaizeeFoo in reply to WGVAL

I am sure it will sort itself out but some people like me cant travel and cant afford to purchase the meds from a limited budget so it's not realistically completely simple.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to WGVAL

It's a cultural attitude in Britain. Officialdom, treating people like a piece of S*** whilst they use our money (tax). Every official member treats people, who are lower down like s*** and give you some grief along the way; you often pay far more in the UK whilst in the continent, things go smoothly and you pay less without the protracted regulations and odd red tapes that nobody gain anything from, which aren't practical and heinously more expensive - not just in medicine). Things like this had never improved after joining the EU.

catrich
catrich in reply to Hidden

I'm going to guess you've never lived on the continent anothermember. I've lived in Italy and France and for the last 18 years in Switzerland. I can assure you that 'protracted regulations and odd red tapes (sic) ' thrive in all three countries. I suppose there are other places that are far, far worse. And they don't include the UK. ;-)

Hidden
Hidden in reply to catrich

Don't forget the US in this mess also. Many of thr powers that be are just as greedy and only concerned that they and their families have what they need. The rank and fil'd needs don't count for a lot and at times it seems to me that changes in rules and regulations are hard to keep up with. irina

Padster7
Padster7 in reply to helvella

I'm sorry to say i don't trust this govt with anything!

shaws
shawsAdministrator in reply to Lulu2red

It is - at present - unavailable in Greece. So I suspect it might cause other countries to have insufficient thyroid hormones in stock. Besides do not forget that we can have sensitivies to fillers/binders in any hormone replacements.

I don't believe there is any need to worry. If you are concerned, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. We survived before being in the EU.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to WomanInPink

That was back before synthetic Levo wasn’t it - everyone took NDT in those days. Could be a big Brexit transition for those on synthetic Levo, especially as these days you have to see a private endo for NDT and buy your own!!! Oh, and there won’t be enough endo appointments to go round. No worries????

Maybe not for you. I note that your info page doesn’t seem to suggest that you’ve had years of feeling unwell like many of us.

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Aurealis

Synthetic levothyroxine started around 1956.

The UK joined the EEC in 1973.

UK desiccated thyroid, Thyroid BP, disappeared in the early 1980s.

The EEC became the EU in 1991.

ffranny
ffranny in reply to WomanInPink

yes we did. Only partly belonged in EU since Heath in the 1970 s, we seem to have traded with the rest of the world quite well for centuries before then..

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to ffranny

The EU as such did not exist until 1991. The BBC has a timeline:

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/e...

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to ffranny

And for most of those centuries hypothyroid patients received no treatment...

shaws
shawsAdministrator in reply to Aurealis

NDT was first prescribed in 1892 - before that hypo patients died. I wouldn't like to think of their suffering.

There is every need to worry! About how we are going to get just about everything in the UK after leaving the EU. I remember the 1970's. I was a child. It was miserable. Rolling black-outs, 3 day weeks, strikes everywhere and the food was boring as hell. No variety, certainly no culturally different foods.

The post won't just carry on like it does now. If I post a parcel to Switzerland now it has a customs charge added to it and has to go through customs checks. Because Switzerland isn't in the EU. By the way, that custom charge is £25 a box, no matter the size. It slows it down by a couple of days too, even though Switzerland is very geared up to handle the customs demand. The only reason we can buy stuff from Greece or France etc and have it shipped over fast and easily is because we are all members of the EU. The government haven't got a clue what they are doing about anything because the whole of this mess is so complicated.

As for medicines made in the UK, that supply will be interrupted if any of the ingredients are imported.

Did you see the news over the weekend, the warning about Insulin? We don't make any Insulin and we can't just start either. It's got a short shelf-life and has to be kept in stable chilled temperatures. Diabetics, including the PM, have every reason to worry. She'll be OK though, she has enough money to get hold of it somehow. Thyroid patients are already a long way down the list of people the NHS care about, so we should all be concerned and try to lay in some stock of our own.

I am not buying into the panic that the politicians and media are creating. They will prioritise health treatment and fulfilling prescriptions, even the incompetent lot we seem to have in govt now!

FancyPants54
FancyPants54 in reply to ffranny

And Just in Time manufacturing want them to prioritise their needs (but they are more clued up about the fat chance of that), and food processors want them to prioritise their needs. The aviation industry will be grounded the day we leave if the Government doesn't sort that out. Meanwhile Norther Ireland desperately needs them to sort out the Irish border. Guess what, nothing is happening about any of it because it's so complicated and we have a bunch of incompetents in charge with right wing dogs snapping at their heals.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to ffranny

I’m sorry, but I can’t see the NHS prioritising anything but Levo, given the current situation with T3 and NDT.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to ffranny

I don’t see the NHS prioritising T3 or NDT now, let alone if supplies become disrupted

marigold22
marigold22 in reply to Aurealis

T3 users have had this dilemma for over a year now. Where do I get my T3 from? I guess it can only get worse on the day of Brexit.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to marigold22

I’ll be on holiday when Brexit happens. Wish I could find out where to go to bring stocks back with me.

marigold22
marigold22 in reply to Aurealis

Aurealis See my reply further down the page about buying from Mexico.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to marigold22

Thanks Marigold

shaws
shawsAdministrator in reply to ffranny

The BTA et al have already withdrawn the prescribing of NDT through misinformation.

They refused to answer one of our Advisers despite him requesting - over three years for a response - they never did and the Adviser died. So there's no-one who appears to be on 'our side' of the supply of hormones which make us well and healthy again.

That is how NDT was removed from the UK hypo patients. Recently the withdrawal of T3 - and I am sure the only 'contented' people is Big Pharma because there's only levothyroxine i.e. T4 only - plus the 'extras' for the remaining symptoms and they aren't given hormones but anti-d's, pain relief, etc etc. So will remain symptomatic - lose jobs etc. etc.

thyroidscience.com/Criticis...

Thank you all for your replies. Please do not politicise this topic as that is not what this is about.

I personally can't travel and wouldn't want to have to take off script meds plus I cannot afford to add the price of them to my limited budget.

It's a legitimate concern for all of us and to be complacent and assume all will be fine is being a little foolish. The government have no idea what is going on so we surely can't?

I'm sorry. I can't not politicise it I'm afraid. I have lived under terrible stress about this since June 2016. My import/export business is going to be finished if we crash out. I haven't had a day's peace since it happened and to top it all off I am now reliant on a daily medication that could be threatened.

I come across this "it's going to be OK" rubbish from many people, mostly older but a few my own age. It makes me want to scream. Most of them have never had dealings with anything outside the UK. Meanwhile my future has been wreaked. 11 years of hard work and all for nothing.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to FancyPants54

From the US: It IS political and governments world wide are changing laws that are already affecting our health, our finances and our quality of life in so many ways. And not for the better I fear.

shaws
shawsAdministrator in reply to FancyPants54

I sympathise with you wholeheartely. No-one in the UK can see into the future.

Aurealis
Aurealis in reply to DaizeeFoo

I think it’s impossible to avoid being political DaizeeFoo, as you say, ‘the government have no idea what is going on’ is in itself a very political statement!

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to Aurealis

I have tried to answer with responses that are as impartial as I can make them.

It is very difficult to say "We do not know what is going to happen to xxxx." without it appearing to be an assumption of chaos. At present there is so much we simply do not know.

Doesn't mean I don't hold my own personal views very strongly.

marigold22
marigold22 in reply to DaizeeFoo

I have a List saved on my laptop called Worldwide T3 Suppliers. There's one in Mexico. They also sell T4. Every time I have ordered from them my package has been delivered intact within 10 days. Surely the post will remain the same after brexit?

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to marigold22

There are many questions over exactly what will happen to air transport at the point of brexit. At one extreme, maybe absolutely nothing will change. At the other extreme, maybe we literally cannot fly any civilian aircraft. Seems mad but we might simply not have the international agreements required to operate - at present many of these things are agreed between the EU and other countries. It appears that those agreements could simply disappear.

Of course, it isn't that everyone wants this effect - but no-one knows how long it would take to get over the problems.

Most international post goes by air!

marigold22
marigold22 in reply to helvella

Sorry to be so cynical.... A gun or stockpile now.

helvella
helvellaAdministrator in reply to marigold22

For those who buy without prescription from Mexico, yes, go for a bit of stockpiling.

No point going mad and stashing a ten year supply (expiry dates permitting!). But 10 day delivery might be a pipe dream for a while.

I don't have an answer but I do know there are shortages on veterinary meds which mostly come from the EU. There are already shortages of others meds so why should levo be any different.

LAHs
LAHs in reply to Guillemette

Oh Geez, now that does sound like the canary in the coal mine. No, I'm serious.

Hidden
Hidden in reply to Guillemette

And since hurricane Irma destroyed so much of Puerto Rico (which has not been rebuilt to any significant degree) where many pharmaceutical companies had large plants even medical plastics have been affected in the US. We tend not to think of things like IV tubing, bags, bottles of distilled water for our C-Pap machines, etc. The list of possible shortages will grow by leaps and bounds. "The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone..."

There must be millions of people in the UK taking medicine for chronic conditions. I cannot see how it will be logistically possible for the govt to ensure adequate supplies if usual supply chains are interrupted. Mention of the army being involved is not reassuring. There are not enough soldiers or helicopters to carry out this task. This is before you consider food. Thinking about this, I cannot see the govt leaving eu with no deal.

It says on the leaflet in my pack of Levothyroxine that it was manufactured in the UK by CP Pharmaceuticals ltd. Ash Road North, Wrexham UK but of course I don't know where the raw ingredients come from.

Buy and keep a little stash to make sure you are going to survive, food meds and fire logs and anything else you need. I keep an emergency store of all my needs which will keep me going for a few months. Not just for brexit but for every unforseen possibility. It makes sense to take care of yourself.

Daizee

All part of what they are calling Project Fear.

Teva is an International outfit and Levo is from Croatia.

Activis is made in Barnstaple Kent.

No worries on either count.

Paul

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