Will Pfizer Bounce Back From Last Year’s Levoxyl Shortage?

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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) will again be shipping a thyroid drug that was in short supply last year. The company ran into issues after it attempted to try a new manufacturing process which resulted in a recall. The drug, Levoxyl, should be available in U.S. retail pharmacies around March 3, according to the Wall Street Journal.

To combat the loss in market share during the shortage, the company is also offering eligible new patients a 30-day free trial of the drug, although it’s unclear whether patients will be willing to switch back.

Pfizer first started recalling the thyroid medicine in February of last year when consumers began reporting issues of plastic-like odors. The company investigated the complaints and tracked the odors to the medicine’s oxygen-absorbing containers in both the 100-count and 1,000-count bottles. The odor was unlikely to cause health problems, Pfizer said, but was recalled “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a FierceBiotech report. All told, the company recalled about 52,000 bottles of Levoxyl.

The recall was disruptive to patients taking the drug because they were forced to temporarily switch to other thyroid medicines, some of which caused new side effects in former Levoxyl users such as hair loss, and others said they had to pay more money out of pocket for the alternative forms of the medicine.

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