The National Health Service is eyeing the cessation of the incessant prescription of Liothyronine, a drug that is used to treat thyroid disorders, after its manufacturer, Oakville, Canada-based pharmaceutical company Concordia International, increased its retail price by 5,662 percent to 9.22 British pounds from 16 p per tablet.
Liothyronine is used to treat hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid, which affects 15 in every 1,000 women and one in every 1,000 men in the United Kingdom. Hypothyroidism is characterized by a poor ability to tolerate cold, constipation, a feeling of tiredness, depression, and weight gain.
An underactive thyroid means your thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone, and can be caused by many things, including lifestyle. In more severe cases, it can occur when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland and damages it, or when the thyroid sustains damage that was caused by treatments for an overactive thyroid or thyroid cancer.
As there is only one supplier of Liothyronine, patients could be forced to go all the way to Europe, where a packet costs only around a few euros.
According to TheTimes.co.uk, Liothyronine, which is a synthetic version of the hormone triiodothyronine or T3 (hormone produced by the thyroid gland), is “clinically effective but…has been subject to excessive price inflation,” noting that some health trusts have already stopped funding it.
NHS reported that it prescribed liothyronine to around 13,000 patients in 2016. Prescriptions of the medicine by the NHS reached costs that were around 30.6 million British Pounds in 2016, up from 3.7 million British Pounds in 2011.
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Thyroid U.K. chief executive Lyn Mynott said she had been besieged with phone calls from panicking thyroid patients. “I think it’s going to be devastating for some. They are afraid they are going to be stopped and are expecting to become ill again.”
A spokeswoman for Concordia International said the price hike was necessary as the medicine was “incredibly difficult to manufacture.” (Related: The dirty history of Big Pharma’s scientific censorship, oppression and destruction of human knowledge.)
Higher levels of thyroid hormone associated with increased risk of heart disease
A recent study showed that older adults with a higher level of free thyroxin (FT4, which is a hormone that is produced by the thyroid gland) have incredibly high chances of developing coronary artery calcification scores, which is a key indicator of atherosclerosis.
“We expected that thyroid function would influence the risk of developing atherosclerosis by affecting cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure. However, our results remained very similar after accounting for several cardiovascular risk factors,” said lead author Arjola Bano, from the University of Erasmus in the Netherlands.
“Our findings suggest that thyroid hormone FT4 measurement can help identify individuals at increased risk of atherosclerosis,” Bano added.
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