Thousands of ill patients could be AT RISK after thyroid hormone drug price rockets

The decision came after the price of liothyronine, a synthetic thyroid hormone also known as T3, rocketed from 16p to £9.22.

It is used to treat 16,000 people in the UK, and patients are being forced to source cheaper tablets online from unreliable sources abroad. 

Campaigners presented NHS bosses with a petition demanding that the drug is not withdrawn.

Catherine Vollans, of Improve Thyroid Treatment, told the Daily Express: “They are being shortsighted and saying money is more important than thousands of people feeling like they can function within society properly and have a proper life or just continue to be ill and will have serious health issues in the future.

“When asked whether the NHS is aware that it is clinically proven that low T3 syndrome causes heart problems, he said he accepts that and he said that he recognises that.

“They are fully aware of the implications for the thousands of people. We are furious about this and there are thousands of very scared people.

“It’s concerning people who are struggling to pay for them or are just struggling on without the medication they need. Are they looking at the future costs for what people would need if they don’t get T3?”

GP Dr Renee Hoenderkamp told the Daily Express: “I felt sick when I saw it on the list. If there is a just a single company making the drug, they can basically hold them [the NHS] to ransom. 

“But their answer is not to sort out of the price but deprive the medication from those who need it. I am really worried. 

“I can source it from abroad but it will be unaffordable for lots of people and I’m quite scared about who I am getting it from, is it a reliable source? 

“There are always differences between brands.”

A number of medical studies have shown that low thyroid hormone levels increase the risk of coronary heart disease.

In a 2007 study by cardiologist Dr William Davis, he wrote: “While we’ve known for years that people with congestive heart failure or are seriously ill have abnormally low T3 hormone levels, two studies have recently found that people with coronary heart disease also have low T3 levels.”

At a meeting last week between campaigners and NHS officials, Graham Jackson, co-chair of the NHS Clinical Commissioners admitted he knew that not prescribing T3 could lead to an increase in patients suffering from potentially fatal conditions like heart failure, according to campaigners.

A row erupted in March over NHS plans to stop prescribing basic medicines which can be bought over the counter.

Some patients will be forced to pay for their own painkillers, plasters and cough medicines.

The list of drugs facing the axe includes omega-3 supplements, fish oils, lidocaine plasters for joint pain, haemorrhoid cream, anti-fungal nail paint and travel vaccines.

And Liothyronine, alongside rubefacients used treat inflamed skin and hypertension treatment doxazosin MR, was included.

Last night an NHS England spokesperson said: “There is an ongoing consultation about prescription items, including Liothyronine, and no decision will be made until after the consultation has concluded. 

“NHS England encourages all stakeholders including patients who access this treatment to participate in the consultation which concludes on 21 October.”