(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Health Ministry will establish a website to receive reports of side effects
from Eltroxin, the drug for hypothyroidism that an independent investigative
committee found underwent changes in its composition and caused side effects in
some 800 Israelis.
The ministry said that a unit would be established in
its pharmaceutical division for improved follow-up of imported drugs and side
effects they have caused.
The committee’s report found faulty functioning
of the ministry and of the companies involved in the import and marketing of the
drug in Israel. The changed composition of the drug – without the company and
the ministry informing doctors and the public – affected mostly women from the
age of 50 suffering from poor functioning of their thyroid
Eltroxin was originally made by Glaxo- SmithKline, but it was
then transferred to Aspen in Germany, and Perrigo Israel marketed it here. When
the formula was changed somewhat in 2010, side effects such as depression, hair
loss, sleepless and irregular heartbeat were observed around the world. But the
Health Ministry here said that the changes were not significant and resulted
partly from psychological effects due to foreign reports.
Rachel Adatto, a physician, charged the ministry with “failing to internalize
its responsibility as a regulator and instead blaming doctors.”
results of the investigatory committee’s report show that even after the Remedia
baby formula fiasco [in which the ministry did not warn the public about the
lack of a vital B vitamin that caused deaths and permanent damage in infants fed
exclusively with the soy-based product], the ministry has not learned its
lesson, Adatto said.
She asked for an urgent meeting of the Knesset
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee to discuss the issue.