What is happening with Goldshield?

My Chemist used to provide me with Goldshield Levo, he then went over to Wockhardt Levo, I then decided to change my Chemist to Boots who provided 100mg Almus and 25mg Goldshield, I was not particularly happy having to take two different brands but as I had no ill-effects I carried on. Went into Boots yesterday for my two monthly prescription and was provided with 100mg Almus as usual but 25mg from Mercury Pharmaceuticals.

I made my feelings clear that I was not happy to have my prescription Levo manufacturer changed yet again. The Pharmacist admitted it was all due to cost and did offer to write to my GP to ask him to specifically prescribe Goldshield. The point is it seems Boots are now not stocking Goldshield, so what is happening does anybody know?

27 Replies

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  • Your pharmacist appears to be ill-informed. Goldshield renamed themselves Mercury Pharma earlier this year. So no-one can now stock Goldshield - they are now being packaged in Mercury Pharma livery.

    He would have made a spectacular fool of himself had he written that letter!

    This was carried on Thyroid UK's news section of their website back in March this year:

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/news_a...

    If you wish to understand more about the available levothyroxine products, have a look here:

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

    Also, the doses are in micrograms (mcg), not milligrams (mg).

    Rod

  • Thanks for the enlightenment and relief Rod, I did not know this and how ill-informed the Boots Pharmacist!

  • Also, as I pointed out over on the Questions page a short time ago, Almus is Boots 'own label'. Boots themselves do not make levothyroxine. If you check the PIL inside the box, you'll probably find that the tablets are actually Activis.

  • Thank you Red Apple, I did read your previous page and am now aware Almus are actually Activis, I just refer to the tablets as Almus as this is largely portrayed on the box, my main query was Mercury Pharmaceuticals which Rod has kindly answered.

  • What is the relevance of different makes of levo?

  • Different makes have different ingredients.

    Some people find one make tolerable and another not. Some seem to find one make feels stronger (or weaker!) than another.

    Some dosages are only available in some makes.

    Availability varies (e.g. Eltroxin was in short supply earlier this year).

    As (some) people are so very sensitive to their levothyroxine dosage even a very small difference can be significant. So it probably reduces the variables by keeping to one make.

    There are only THREE current makes - although they may be sold under several different liveries/brands.

    Have a look here:

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

    Rod

  • Just found this link on Google ... wish I had seen this yesterday.

    I went to the Doctor this morning as Lloyds Pharmacy cannot get Goldshield Eltroxin so I needed to get another perscription for something else, so owing to the fact that I havent been very well on Goldshield brand for 12 years my doctor asked me to go to the Pharmacy to find the name of a different brand / manufacturer so he could specify that different brand on my medical notes.

    I was also at the hospital this morning so went to the hospital pharmacy, explained what had happened with Goldshield, the info I needed and why.

    Later this afternoon the head of the pharmacy phoned me and said to use Mercury Pharma Eltroxin to replace Goldshield !! so what did I do ?

    I phoned the doctor with this info so basically this very informed hospital pharmacist has actually told me to get what wasn't working very well anyway disguised under a different name .... arggghhh what is wrong with these people.

    Great I now have to phone my doctor tomorrow and tell him sorry but it is actually Goldshield. ...... I give up too tired for this.

  • I recently wrote a more detailed blog on this issue:

    thyroiduk.healthunlocked.co...

    Mercury Pharma have this letter:

    Date:11 March 2013

    Notice of temporary unavailability of Eltroxin tablets

    Dear Patient

    Mercury Pharmaceuticals may have been supplying your thyroid medication in two forms; Eltroxin or levothyroxine tablets.

    The Eltroxin tablets are likely to be temporarily unavailable in the near future. This may mean that the pharmacist will give you levothyroxine tablets instead at exactly the same strength (after checking with your doctor). Switching to levothyroxine tablets is very unlikely to cause any problems as the two forms are the same and are produced by the same manufacturer. The main difference between the two is their respective names and accompanying packaging.

    If you have any problems please let your doctor know.

    We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.

    Please contact Mercury Pharma Medical Information department in case of any queries:

    Tel: 08700 70 30 33

    Email: medicalinformation@mercurypharma.com

    Rod

  • The chemist seems to supply a random brand every time you get your prescription, depending on what is going cheap at wholesale when they make their order. I think it is really irresponsible as each different brand has different fillers and will affect the absorption of the drug. This means that some brands will give you more and some less of the levo, some will be fast and some slow in dispersing in your system, and some might not be much use at all, depending on your digestion. The proper thing to do is to find a brand that suits you and stick to it otherwise you are going to be up or down with each different prescription every month and life will become very difficult as your energy and symptoms are affected. It was this problem, and also some others such as undertreatment, that made me come to the conclusion that the only way forward was to take control of my health and to buy my own pills and self treat.

  • Unlike the USA, we don't have umpteen different 'brands' to choose from. As Helvella says above, there are only three here in the UK.

    I have found that if you discuss this with the 'right pharmacist' (i.e. one who wants to keep your repeat custom), they will make a note on their system of your preferred make of levothyroxine and do their very best to supply you with this one each time. Generally, if they can't get it for you, it's nothing to do with price and everything to do with actual availability of that make at the time of ordering.

    Over this last year especially, there has been issues with the actual production of levothyroxine tablets here in the UK. This has meant shortages and the eventual removal of one make (Teva) from the market completely. Hence the reason there are only three left to choose from.

  • The term 'fillers' is deprecated by the pharmaceutical industry.

    'Filler' would perhaps describe an ingredient which is there purely to increase the volume of the final product. But actually the ingredients have many functions beyond occupying space! They might help with manufacture (e.g.magnesium stearate), control acidity/alkalinity, act as disintegrants, binders, stabilisers, control dissolution, flavour, colour, preserve and many other things.

    The preferred term is excipient.

  • I find that the wee private chemists are best.

    Jo xx

  • no idea and to be honest Id not noticed but you are right, mine has been changed

  • My advice is to find a sympathetic pharmacist who will accommodate your request for the same brand each time. I had to go into the next town to find one who is brilliant and reserves my requested brand for me every month. Our local Health Trust only allows one month supply at a time.

  • Boots informed me they could not order my preferred brand but would do so if my Doctor was asked to specifically state this on my prescription. It may be this is a particular ruling of the Boots Company but I am not sure if this correct, it does seem strange that some Chemists can request a brand without one having to ask their Doctor.

  • Almost all prescriptions are written as "Levothyroxine sodium" so any brand/make could legitimately be supplied without reference to a doctor.

    Any pharmacy could provide a consistent brand/make to you if they wished to help. Not doing so is a question more of attitude than anything else. So what Boots are saying is "If you ask us nicely we will refuse because we really couldn't give a fig about you but if your doctor demands it, then we will, grudgingly, do so. And the fact that the same reason for asking applies whether it is the doctor or patient who asks is utterly irrelevant." And they want to push their own repackaged Almus product.

    That a large supermarket chain is much more obliging than our traditional, formerly trusted chemists chain says a lot about their attitude. And would be plenty of reason for me to go elsewhere.

  • My local Boots has been brilliant and always give me my requested brand. They have noted my preference on their system and so it is done automatically. No need for a specific brand on the prescription. So this is down to your pharmacist and not Boots as a company. Phone around your local pharmacies and find out which one is willing to help you with this.

  • I must have been very lucky as my local Boots used to order Goldshield in for me. My last prescription (2 weeks ago) they gave me Eltroxin.

  • Could you tell me which branch of Boots gave you Eltroxin. I have not had my last script' filled yet because Boots Bluewater told me about Goldshield (my preferred brand) no longer being available and suggested Eltroxine. They said get your doctor to name Eltroxin on the prescription. I saw my doctor and after a lengthy discussion he refused as he said there is no difference between the brands available and it cost too much.

  • Thanks everybody for your helpful input.

  • When I last went into my chemist they told me that as from April next year I will have to nominate one chemist and then all my presciptions would have to come from them! so much for patient choice. When I next went to asda I asked the pharmacist there if she knew about this and she told me that I will have to nominate 3 chemists

    is this happening in other areas? or just hampshire?

    Tan x

  • I thought that was only if you accept the electronic sending of prescriptions from doctor to pharmacy. But that is without my doing any checking - I shall be interested to know.

    Perhaps you should start a new blog so it is more visible?

  • I felt rubbish on Actavis and as Boots make they supply is the same I went to a little chemist and they always hold some Forley or Mercury Pharma back.I don't spend as much in there either ;-)

  • Popped into Boots today and informed them Mercury Pharma were in fact the renamed Goldshield Company as Rod kindly pointed out. They did not know this. I suggested they telephone Mercury, which they did, and it was confirmed they were one and the same. I asked why the Pharmacist was not aware of this when I went in for my prescription last Saturday and was told there were too many manufacturers to remember everything. Well they know now and I made it clear I wanted the Pharmacist to be informed. Thanks to Thyroid UK a leading Pharmacy has been educated!

  • Thank you all for your comments and in put its really helpful.

  • Hi I don't think any one stocks Goldsheild . Mercury phara purchased Goldsheild. I like the Goldsheild brand. I've been given Artvis and I have had stomach since taking it.

  • No - Mercury Pharma did NOT buy Goldshield.

    Goldshield renamed themselves Mercury Pharma. Then their owners, who also owned another pharmaceutical company called Amdipharam, decided to merge the two companies into one company Amdipharm Mercury - AMCO.

    Rod

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