Natural Desiccated Thyroid Shortage: A Look Back

A Summary of Coverage of the Natural Thyroid Shortage from 2009 through 2010

During 2009 and 2010, the unprecedented shortages of natural desiccated thyroid drugs -- like Armour Thyroid and Nature-Throid -- has caused major shortages, backorders, and concerns for patients. The following links provide a historical look back at the key coverage of the issue in chronological order.

Save Natural Thyroid Coalition Formed to Help Protect Thyroid Patients' Rights

Based on legitimate concerns regarding the future of natural desiccated thyroid drug, thyroid patients and practitioners have banded together, in a coalition designed to help protect their rights to natural desiccated thyroid drugs, under the banner "Save Natural Thyroid." Find out how to participate in the "Save Natural Thyroid" coalition and effort.

Attention Thyroid Patients: Armour Thyroid Is NOT Off the Market

June 2009 -- Once again the rumors are flying about Armour Thyroid, and as usual, they're simply not true. The natural thyroid drug known as Armour Thyroid is NOT off the market, or going off the market, and production has NOT been shut down. There is, however, a short-term shortage of three dosages of Armour.

Forest Pharmaceuticals: Armour Thyroid and Thyrolar are Still Back Ordered

July 2009 -- Varying strengths of Armour Thyroid have been unavailable, on back-order, and going through mysterious "production delays" for more than two years and counting.

Armour Thyroid's Spring 2009 Reformulation Causing Problems

July 2, 2009 -- During the Spring of 2009, the natural desiccated thyroid drug, Armour Thyroid, apparently underwent a reformulation of fillers that has caused the medication to become less effective for a number of patients.

Thyroid Drug Maker Forest Laboratories in Hot Water With Justice Department

July 8, 2009 -- According to an article in the New York Times, the Department of Justice (DOJ) is charging drug company Forest Laboratories -- which makes thyroid drugs Levothroid, Thyrolar and Armour Thyroid with defrauding the government. According to the DOJ, Forest has fraudulently obtained millions of dollars through the illegal marketing of some of their popular antidepressants.

Natural Thyroid Drug Update from RLC Labs - Maker of Nature-Throid, Westhroid

July 9, 2009 -- I had an opportunity talk at length this week with both Rick Cox, the CEO of RLC Labs -- the company that makes natural desiccated thyroid drugs Nature-Throid and Westhroid -- and RLC's Chief Science Officer, Dai Jinn.

Armour Thyroid Unavailable To Most Thyroid Patients

July 28, 2009 -- As of late July 2009, all but one dosage size of the natural desiccated prescription thyroid drug Armour Thyroid, made by Forest Labs, is unavailable and backordered until August.

Medco Thyroid Scandal: Misleading Thyroid Drug Shortage Notices

August 6, 2009 -- Major mail-order pharmacy Medco Health was disseminating a misleading and highly suspicious notice to doctors, suggesting a nationwide shortage of natural desiccated thyroid drugs, and urging doctors to switch patients to levothyroxine.

Medco Issued Warning to Doctors Without Assessing Availability of Nature-Throid

August 11, 2009 -- Company officials at RLC Laboratories, the manufacturer of the natural desiccated thyroid drug Nature-Throid, have confirmed that mail order pharmacy Medco Health did not contact RLC prior to Medco's issuing a misleading thyroid drug shortage notice to doctors.

Medco Thyroid Scandal: Misleadingly Says They Were "Notified by Manufacturers"

August 11, 2009 -- Medco claims they were notified by manufacturers ahead of time.

Armour Thyroid On Long-Term Backorder, No Definitive Date for Availability

August 17, 2009 -- The natural desiccated thyroid drug Armour Thyroid, which has largely unavailable for months during a reformulation, is on back-order. The company has indicated that they cannot provide an estimated date when product will be available.

Nature-Throid Natural Desiccated Thyroid Announces Back-Order

August 17, 2009 -- RLC Labs, the manufacturer of the natural desiccated thyroid drugs Nature-Throid and Westhroid, announced that their products are currently on back-order.

Thyroid Patients: How To Survive the Shortage of Armour and Nature-Throid

August 18, 2009 -- With announcements by both Armour Thyroid's manufacturer Forest Labs, and Nature-Throid/Westhroid manufacturer RLC Labs that these thyroid drugs are on nationwide backorder for at least three months, thyroid patients naturally have questions about what this means for their treatment.

Why Thyroid Drugs Nature-Throid and Westhroid are Temporarily Back-ordered

August 19, 2009 -- Dr. John Lowe, at his online journal, Thyroid Science, has an interesting editorial on "Why Nature-Throid and Westhroid are Temporarily Back-ordered." He offers some more in-depth history on the situation, as well as information about Nature-Throid, and how it's made. A must-read for anyone interested in the current situation.

Is the FDA Planning to Get Rid of Desiccated Thyroid Drugs Like Armour & Nature-

August 19, 2009 -- Is the FDA is going to require desiccated thyroid drugs to go through the new drug application process? Will these drugs be pulled off the market? I've taken a look at what the FDA might be planning, and what it means for us as thyroid patients.

American Laboratories Issues Statement Regarding Shortage of Natural Desiccated

August 19, 2009 -- American Laboratories, Inc. — the supplier of Thyroid USP powder, which is the raw material used to produce natural desiccated thyroid drugs in the U.S. — has issued a statement regarding their shortages.

How to Get Your Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drug Prescription Filled

August 25, 2009 -- As the shortage of natural desiccated thyroid drugs -- like Armour and Nature-Throid -- worsens, patients are finding it more difficult to get prescriptions filled. But if you are on a natural desiccated thyroid drug, and it's time to get your prescription refilled, here are some pointers to help you get the medication you need.

Potential Way to Fill Natural Thyroid Prescriptions with Canadian Drug from Erfa

August 26, 2009 -- Erfa, the Canadian distributor of a natural desiccated drug called "Thyroid,", has information up at their website outlining the steps for how patients from outside Canada can order the drug.

Major Pharmaceuticals Discontinuing Their Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs

August 26, 2009 -- The pharmaceutical manufacturer Major has reportedly received notice from the FDA that their complete line of natural desiccated thyroid drugs can no longer be manufactured, and that the designation of DESI -- Drug Efficacy Study Implementation -- can no longer be used for these drugs.

Is This the End for Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs?

August 26, 2009 -- I feel like this story is dripping out, bit by bit, and patients are always the last to know. In fact, I'm beginning to think that that Medco may have known exactly what was going on all along, and they were privy to backdoor FDA information that we consumers don't get to hear. But it's looking like the FDA is calling for new drug applications -- and it may be the end of the line -- for natural thyroid drugs.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Issues Statement About Natural Desiccated Thy

August 28, 2009-- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an official statement about natural desiccated thyroid drugs. Read it here.

What is the FDA Not Saying About The Future of Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs?

After the FDA's vague statement, and given conflicting information coming from other FDA staff, and the dire shortages that are plaguing the natural thyroid industry, should thyroid patients sit back, watch, and wait, and assume that the FDA has their best interests at heart?

An Update on the Efforts to Save Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs Like Armour...

What's going on with natural thyroid? It's a question we've been asking since the spring, and it has been coming to a head this summer. Here's a recap as of September 2009, including a look at what you can do to get your prescriptions filled, and how you can help protect patients' rights to natural desiccated thyroid drugs.

Why is Forest Pharmaceuticals Lying About Thyroid Drug Thyrolar?

September 16, 2009 -- For months, patients have been struggling to get the thyroid drug Thyrolar (liotrix) -- a synthetic combination of levothyroxine and l-triiodothyronine made by Forest Pharmaceuticals. Forest recently issued a statement indicating that Thyrolar is not available because Forest is making "the modifications necessary to meet these new specifications" from the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), the official public standards–setting authority for prescription medicines. According to Forest, USP "has mandated new specifications for the manufacturing of Thyrolar." Except, I confirmed in a teleconference with USP's Dr. Karen Russo, that there are no new specifications for the manufacturing of Thyrolar. So what's the real story?

Does Forest Really Want to Save Natural Thyroid?

September 17, 2009 -- Is Forest pharmaceuticals actually interested in saving natural thyroid? Do they want to actually continue to make and sell Armour Thyroid? Or do they have something else entirely in mind? (And they've just forgotten to tell the patients who rely on their medications.) Some thoughts from Mary Shomon on the issue.

Who Else is Talking About the Shortage of Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs?

September 17, 2009 -- It seems like everyone's suddenly talking about the shortage of natural desiccated thyroid drugs like Armour and Nature-Throid. There are ongoing conversations at many forums and blogs around the web. And, a number of doctors, practitioners and health care experts have also been sharing their thoughts, and here's a roundup.

Confirmed: Major Pharmaceuticals Discontinuing Thyroid Tablets

September 21, 2009 -- Major Pharmaceuticals confirmed that they have stopped producing natural desiccated thyroid drugs, and report that it was due to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Forest Issues Statement Regarding Armour Thyroid

September 21, 2009 -- Forest has issued a statement regarding Armour Thyroid, indicating that very limited supply of 1 grain tablets have been shipped to distributors.

Dr. Lowe Explores Dr. Richard Guttler's Controversial Claims on Natural Thyroid

September 28, 2009 -- Researcher Dr. John Lowe, editor of the journal Thyroid Science, has published an analysis that focuses on the science behind natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) drugs, and the criticisms of natural thyroid made by a controversial California endocrinologist, Richard Guttler. Dr. Guttler has been an extremely vocal opponent of natural thyroid for more than a decade, and according to Dr. Lowe, "In this paper, I provide more evidence that [Dr. Guttler's] allegation against NDT is false. I believe it is crucial to the health and well-being of many hypothyroid patients that Guttler open-mindedly acknowledge the falsity of his claim that NDT does not provide benefits."

Compounded Natural Desiccated Thyroid: An Option for Thyroid Patients

September 30, 2009 -- Thyroid patients unable to get natural desiccated thyroid drugs Nature-Throid or Armour can find compounding pharmacies who will fill prescriptions for compounded natural desiccated thyroid capsules. Find out how these prescriptions need to be written, and where to get them filled.

Natural Thyroid Featured on Dr. Ron Hoffman's Radio Show

Wondering why you can't find your usual natural thyroid medication in your local pharmacy? Integrative physician and radio host Dr. Ron Hoffman interviewed me on WOR radio in New York regarding all the latest info on the natural desiccated thyroid shortage, and what you can do. Listen now.

Save Natural Thyroid Coalition Kicks Off Advocacy Effort

On Thursday, September 24, 2009, the Steering/Strategy Committee for the Save Natural Thyroid Coalition had its first kickoff teleconference, to discuss the future of natural desiccated thyroid (NDT) drugs.

Forest Laboratories: Still Stonewalling Thyroid Patients About Thyrolar

Nov. 23, 2009 -- Forest Laboratories is still claiming that the unavailability and long-term backorder for Thyrolar is due to the U.S. Pharmacopeia, but the facts don't support Forest's position. Meanwhile, patients still can't get Thyrolar.

When Will Forest Laboratories Get Armour Thyroid Back on the Market?

Nov. 23, 2009 -- Forest Laboratories' natural desiccated thyroid drug Armour Thyroid is still barely available, and there's no word on when the drug might be fully available. Meanwhile, the manufacturer is not making information available to consumers and practitioners.

Nature-Throid Natural Desiccated Thyroid: A Status Report

Nov. 23, 2009 -- Drug manufacturer RLC shared information regarding plans for shipments of their natural desiccated thyroid medications Nature-Throid and Westhroid, and when the company plans to have these drugs out of a back-order situation.

American Thyroid Association is Spreading Misinformation About Natural Thyroid


Nov. 27, 2009 -- The American Thyroid Association has posted error-filled misinformation about natural desiccated thyroid drugs like Armour Thyroid at their website. Is the group being influenced by the big donations from competing drugmakers to post misinformation and confuse patients?

Forest Labs' Crediblity and Thyrolar Status in Question after USP Issues Statmt

Dec 2, 2009 -- USP has issued a statement that calls into question information Forest Labs -- maker of Armour and Thyrolar -- is publicizing about the lack of availability of its thyroid drugs.

Nature-Throid Natural Thyroid: A New Update on Production Status

December 2, 2009 -- Today, I had an opportunity to speak with Dai Jinn, the Chief Science Officer and Chief Pharmacist at RLC Labs, maker of Nature-Throid and Westhroid. When I'd spoken with RLC and reported in my update on Monday, November 23 Nature-Throid Natural Desiccated Thyroid: A Status Report, Dai had said that they would begin shipping 1 grain Nature-Throid this week. As some thyroid patients have found, however, after calling the company, or checking with their pharmacies, this is not happening. So I checked in with Dai to find out what the situation is and what thyroid patients can expect, and how thyroid patients taking natural desiccated thyroid can plan for the next several months.

What Does Forest Laboratories Have to Hide? Forest Labs Again Refuses to Comment

December 7, 2009 -- Forest Laboratories, maker of three medications for thyroid hormone replacement (Armour, Thyrolar and Levothroid) again refused to comment on critical issues regarding the status of their thyroid medications -- Thyrolar, Armour and Levothroid.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs: A Survey of Pharmacies & Availability

December 10, 2009 -- Find out more about the database of pharmacies that have natural desiccated thyroid drugs available.

An Update on RLC's Shipping Status for Nature-Throid

December 18, 2009 -- Information from Dai Jinn, Chief Pharmacist and Chief Science Officer at RLC Laboratories, the manufacturer of the natural desiccated thyroid drugs Nature-Throid, about the production status.

RLC Releases New Statement re: Natural Thyroid Drug Status

January 2, 2010 -- RLC has released a new statement regarding the status of their natural thyroid drugs.

RLC Shipping Nature-Throid Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drug

January 5, 2010 -- Good news for the new year. Today, Dai Jinn, Chief Science Officer at RLC Labs confirmed that Nature-Throid -- RLC's natural desiccated thyroid drug -- is shipping in the 1 grain tablet size.

Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs: An Update March 2010 - Where Are We Now?

As of early March, 2010, the situation is still in flux regarding natural desiccated thyroid drugs. Here is the latest on the status of Nature-throid, Armour Thyroid, Erfa Thyroid and compounded natural desiccated thyroid drugs, as well as plans for FDA regulation of these drugs.  

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