A box of Levothyrox from the German laboratory Merck, in a pharmacy of Saint-Gaudens, Haute-Garonne, December 4, 2017
The German laboratory Merck Serono said Thursday it did not plan to distribute the old formula of Levothyrox beyond 2018, while it should be gradually replaced in all European countries during the year.
„We are not going to reimport forever“ the old formula in France, warned Thierry Hulot, the boss of the biopharmaceutical activities of Merck Serono in France, specifying that a new importation was planned very soon so that the country can hold up to to March.
He said that Merck was eventually ready to re-import a little longer, while alternatives were available, but without giving a deadline.
The old formula, called Euthyrox in France, however, will not be able to continue to be distributed in France once the other European countries have moved to the new formula, which should be done „current in 2018“, said Mr. Hulot.
Euthyrox has returned to French pharmacies in early October while the new formula was accused this summer of causing many adverse effects.
According to Mr. Hulot, these effects attributed to Levothyrox affect 100,000 French patients out of three million.
„Let’s respect them and help them,“ he said, advising patients to make an appointment as soon as possible with their doctor to identify a „long-term form of treatment“ before Euthyrox more distributed.
According to him, this time should allow time for other laboratories to offer other treatments, based on the same active ingredient.
Two competitors, L-Thyroxin Henning from French Sanofi and L-Thyroxine (drops) from Belgian Serb are currently available and weigh less than 10% of the market.