When the FDA gets busy, drug companies win and patients lose

Squeeze Play

Once again, the FDA is pulling a fast one. And once again, drug companies win, patients lose.

Hypothyroid patients who have successfully treated their condition for many years with a safe and effective natural product may soon be forced to use an inferior drug.

It’s outrageous and despicable. And I’m sure you’ve thought of even stronger words if you’re among the millions of patients who are suddenly faced with this dilemma.

Full spectrum vs. synthetic

The natural hypothyroid treatment in question is best known by the brand name Armour, which is desiccated thyroid and provides the complete range of thyroid hormones. In an e-Alert I sent you last year, I shared a quote from William Campbell Douglass II, M.D., who explained why Armour is more effective than the widely used hypothyroid drug called Synthroid.

Dr. Douglass: “Research shows that the thyroid hormone T3 is more active than T4 – in fact, it is roughly four times as strong as T4. In the body, all T4 hormones must be converted into T3 in order to control metabolism. Many patients do not have the enzymatic capability to make that conversion.

“Synthroid is T4. After I discovered this fact, I switched all of my hypothyroid patients to a natural thyroid product (called Armour). Natural thyroid is derived from the thyroid glands of pigs and is a combination of T3 and T4. The majority of these patients experienced an almost immediate improvement.”

So for millions of hypothryroid patients, Armour is a non- drug solution.

Which is probably why the FDA appears to regard Armour as a problem.

Don’t take that, take this

Recently, the FDA has taken steps that would seem to signal the end of desiccated thyroid products like Armour.

This situation is being followed by Mary Shomon, a thyroid patient advocate who writes about hypothyroidism and other health issues. In a recent posting on her blog that appears on about.com, Mary describes a “very troubling situation.”

It appears that the FDA has asked several companies that produce natural desiccated thyroid to submit a new drug application for their products. Of course, these applications require research that costs millions of dollars. So the companies basically have no choice but to take their products off the market.

Recently, Medco (a “prescription management” company that Mary describes as a big pharma insider) posted this notice on their website: “There is a nationwide shortage of porcine-derived desiccated thyroid and liotrix. Supplies of these products are now limited and we are uncertain about continued availability. Ask your doctor if a synthetic thyroid medication, such as levothyroxine is right for you.”

Sure…just forget about that stuff that works for you and start taking the drug. (Synthroid is the brand name for levothyroxine.)

Get the feeling the fix is in?

The website for the American Association for Health Freedom offers this quote from Jonathan V. Wright, M.D., who puts the situation into perspective: “Natural thyroid has never killed or severely harmed anyone since its first use in the 1890s, prior to the FDA itself. It is a mainstay not only in the treatment of hypothyroidism but also in ‘healthy aging’ therapy. That the FDA should even be thinking of requiring a new drug approval for a safe, 100 plus year old natural treatment is outrageous.”

Completely, totally, and thoroughly outrageous.

I’ll be following this one closely and will keep you posted.

“What is the FDA Not Saying About the Future of Natural Desiccated Thyroid Drugs?” Mary Shomon, 8/28/09, thyroid.about.com
“FDA Attacks Natural Thyroid Millions Depend On” American Association for Health Freedom, 9/1/09, healthfreedom.net