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Dr. Steven Hotze vs. the Endocrinologists:

AACE Regularly Goes to Bat for Synthroid

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Updated June 19, 2014

Dr. Steven Hotze vs. the Endocrinologists:
The AACE President at the time, Rhoda Cobin, had a letter published in the Wall Street Journal in support of Synthroid. Because the manufacturer had failed to bypass the approval process, and was unable to produce a product that met with FDA approval by the FDA deadline, the FDA was recommending production cuts and eventual phase-out of Synthroid, until such time as the manufacturer could produce a product of sufficient quality to receive FDA approval. At the time, Cobin wrote:

...while the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists does not endorse specific products, the 3,700 physicians in our organization, all specialists in thyroid disease, have found that Synthroid has a long record of safety, efficacy, reliability and consistency...
In June, 2001, AACE also issued a press release in support of Synthroid, titled "Synthroid Should Remain on the Market." ( Read the release now.)

"While AACE does not endorse specific products, it feels that this proposed action is extremely misguided and unwarranted," said Rhoda Cobin, in that release.

Just this past January, AACE launch a questionable campaign to mark the January 2005 "Thyroid Awareness Month." Their campaign, which focused on concerns about bioequivalence and attempts to convince patients not to switch thyroid drugs, also functions as an effort to protect market share for Synthroid. (See more information about the AACE campaign.)

So, it should come as no surprise, then, that AACE has again defended Synthroid against criticisms, in this case, those leveled by Hotze.

What is suprising is that CBS rather quickly agreed to present the AACE perspective, which is not typical for most media outlets. On October 25, 2005, CBS issued a mea culpa to the AACE (Read the entire CBS' response now.) In his letter, Michael Bass, Senior Executive Producer of The Early Show, wrote:

I agree with you that we definitely should have done a better job of challenging his opinions, and also that much of what he proposed falls far outside the accepted norms and, according to our Dr. Emily Senay, could be potentially harmful to some patients. Dr. Hotze is of course entitled to his opinion, but we should have done a better job of countering his perspective and offering more accepted alternatives, so that our viewers would have sufficient information to take with them to their own doctors... As a result, and in light of the concerns you raised, we are airing a segment tomorrow in our Healthwatch on thyroid disease with our own Dr. Senay, which will specifically counter many of the points made by Dr. Hotze...
CBS also blogged this on their Public Eye blog on October 26, 2005, saying: "Kudos to Bass for acknowledging and investigating the AACE's concerns."

CBS's health correspondent, Dr. Emily Senay, then did a segment on October 26, 2005, talking about thyroid disease, offering a straight conventional perspective in line with the AACE positions. You can read the account of her segment at the CBS site or view the segment online. (Click here, and once at the site, scroll midway down the page)

But Hotze is not letting CBS or AACE have the last word. In response, Hotze sent a letter to CBS on November 10, 2005. (Read his entire letter now) In the letter, Hotze said:

The current medical paradigm for diagnosing and treating low thyroid conditions is to rely solely on blood tests, tests which in and of themselves cannot predict patient symptoms...These women with so called normal tests are then routinely sent home with prescriptions for psychiatric drugs, specifically, antidepressants, having been made to feel that they are hypochondriacs, neurotics or hysterics and that their problems have a psychosomatic origin.
Hotze also hit back hard with the following statement:

Many AACE members are guilty of ruining the lives of millions of women whose hypothyroid conditions they leave untreated.
Hotze then concluded:

"May I recommend for your consideration that you host a debate between Bill Law and me over the correct evaluation and treatment of hypothyroidism? Properly advertised it would draw a huge audience of women in mid life who are fascinated by the problem of hypothyroidism. It would compete for the same audience as Desperate Housewives.
Hotze vs. AACE: Who's Right, Who's Wrong?

So, where is the truth in this controversy? A few interesting points to note.

From my perspective as a patient advocate, I absolutely agree with Dr. Hotze that many women are made to feel like hypochondriacs. A quick look at my Thyroid Forums and it's easy to see that many thyroid patients are not getting properly diagnosed, and are made to feel like hypochondriacs by their physicians, including endocrinologists. I receive hundreds of letters each week, and the difficulty patients have in getting taken seriously by their physicians is a constant refrain. (Find out more about this now).

NEXT: Why blood tests AREN'T diagnosing everyone with hypothyroidism...

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