According to information from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, the Levothroid brand of levothyroxine - made by Forest Pharmaceuticals - is not backordered; it is is actually being discontinued.
Originally, Levothroid was supposedly recalled, with a return to the market scheduled for 2014. But now, all doses and bottle sizes of Levothroid are listed as discontinued as of July 2013, due to the inability of Forest's contract manufacturer to supply the product.
According to a financial website, iStockAnalyst, the FDA had regulatory and quality control concerns regarding the manufacturer, which then stopped manufacturing the levothyroxine drug.
Levothroid's discontinuance comes on the heels of a long-term recall of another brand name levothyroxine, Levoxyl, made by King Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of pharmeceutical giant Pfizer.
According to the Levoxyl website, the drug was recalled after the company received complaints from pharmacists and patients about an odor coming from the Levoxyl bottles. Supposedly, the odor was caused by some sort of oxygen-absorbing canister that helped enhance product stability. At the same time, the company recalled all Levoxyl products, and has indicated that it will be a full year before it can come back on the market...a somewhat unusual move that seems excessive - and perhaps a bit suspicious - under the circumstances.
For patients taking levothyroxine this leaves only brand names Synthroid and Tirosint, and a variety of generics.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that patients are now reporting that prices for both Synthroid and Tirosint have rapidly increased this summer. Some patients with insurance coverage are also complaining that co-pays for Tirosint have just increased, in some cases by double, in just the past month. Until recently, prices for Tirosint were similar to Synthroid.
According to Drug Price Search, currently, a 30-day supply of Tirosint 100 mcg now costs approximately $75. Synthroid costs approximately $34, and generic levothyroxine costs approximately $12.
What do you think is really going on? Please share in the comments...