Are online Canadian Pharmacies cutting it with US thyroid patients on desiccated thyroid?

pills2-1(Though this post was originally written in 2011, it has been updated to the current day and time. Enjoy! At the end of this post, you’ll see more updates to read on this topic.)

When the shortages hit the United States for natural desiccated thyroid in 2009, we all had to figure out which way to turn, since the 110-year-old natural desiccated thyroid has been a far, far better treatment for our hypothyroid state than levothyroxine T4-only such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Eltroxin, Oroxine, etc.

Additionally, Armour thyroid by Forest Labs was reformulated in early 2009, and patients worldwide reported a return of symptoms as well a stress on their adrenals.  So patients started an exodus away from Armour.

Luckily, the FDA loosened restrictions and allowed us to order the Canadian brand by Erfa Canada Inc, called simply “Thyroid”.   Erfa’s Thyroid proved to be an excellent desiccated thyroid for most, especially if they raised high enough once again to rid them of symptoms.  And since it contains sucrose, patients have been able to do it sublingually–a method which is not necessary for benefits, but is preferred by many.

I gathered a list of known Canadian online pharmacies, which you can view on the Options for Thyroid Treatment page.

And just recently (2010), I sought opinions from patients about the pharmacies they have used:

Universal Drugstore aka Canadian Pharmacy Online: This pharmacy received the greatest kudos from US patients and with the best prices.

  • Awesome – good prices and fast, friendly service. Will call your drug store and get your Armour script transferred.
  • Faxed my prescription and it was mailed the next day. I believe it took a week and a few days to arrive to Florida.
  • Great customer service, easy ordering, and was cheaper than paying the co-pay with my insurance. It takes about 10 to 14 business days to get your prescription, according to the company, but mine came sooner than that and it was the holiday mail rush season!
  • Rapid service, excellent customer service, email reminders to refill, coupons
  • They had the best price and were very professional and efficient.  My order arrived within ten days.
  • I paid $43.25 for 200 60 mg pills (2010)
  • Online forms were easy. I faxed my prescriptions and received my Thyroid in twelve days for $7 shipping

Pharmacies Online:

  • Easy to register and the customer service was excellent. I faxed my prescription. A pharmacist called me to see if I had any questions. I paid $45.63 including shipping for 100 60mg pills (2010)

Cross Border Pharmacy:

  • Excellent customer service, great prices, two week arrival from date of order, wish pharmacies here were this good.

Canada Online:

  • Good experience, prompt (7-10) days service getting my Erfa thyroid

What has been your experience with online Canadian Pharmacies? Do I need to remove any from the Options for Thyroid Treatment for any reason? Do I need to add any?

UPDATES TO ALL THE ABOVE:

Check out how Canadians felt about their healthcare situation as well as thyroid treatment on this October 2015 blog post: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2015/10/20/canadian-thyroid-patients/

Though written in Sept, 2014, comments continued through 2016 about BAD batches of Erfa: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/2014/06/12/part-ii-erfa-canada-says-new-thyroid-pills-are-fine-thyroid-patients-worldwide-exclaim-hog-wash/

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Other blog posts worth reading:

Read a guy’s email to me about his experience with doctors being afraid of HC, which patients know is safe and WORKS!

Will the FDA be more transparent for thyroid patients on desiccated thyroid with their new initiative?

Listen to the second interview, Episode 9, I had with Dr. John C. Lowe. What a brilliant man!

59 Responses to “Are online Canadian Pharmacies cutting it with US thyroid patients on desiccated thyroid?”

  1. Amy M

    Universal Drugstore was definitely the best for me. Here are their prices for 1 gr (60mg) tablets:
    100 TABLET(S) $19.00 USD
    200 TABLET(S) $36.25 USD
    300 TABLET(S) $51.50 USD
    400 TABLET(S) $64.75 USD
    Shipping and handling: $7.00

    Reply
    • Karen Tavasci

      This has gone up ALOT! I pay $82.00 + shipping for 400 60mg.

      Reply
      • Randal S

        It’s now $133.00 USD for 400 pills as of February 18th, 2015!

        Reply
        • SJ

          I pay $70 for 100 (60mg) here in the US…wow I think I need to look into Universal Drugstore!!

          Reply
  2. Kara S

    Wow, Universal looks really good.

    I’ve used Canadian Meds South http://canadianmedssouth.com/things-you-need-to-know/armour-thyroid-shortage/ – I thought the prices were good there! (I bought a bottle of 500 60’s for $133.95; Universal’s equivalent would be %97.50 – if I could get 500 at a time from them.)

    One difference: Universal’s maximum fill is 3 months’ supply, where CMS’s maximum is 500 pills. That means you can get Erfa factory sealed bottles of 500, which is nice if you have an extra that you wish to keep for awhile, just in case. (I’m assuming Erfa’s bottles only come in 500s, and that Universal splits these into regular prescription bottles – but I haven’t ordered from Universal, so I can’t say for sure.)

    Anyway, Sue at CMS was super helpful, and she is a thyroid patient herself who posts on various forums. In case you need an alternative to Universal for any reason, I can definitely recommend CMS.

    Good luck everyone!
    Kara

    Reply
  3. Kathleen Steinley

    Canadadrugs.com has a natural thyroid pill that they say is known as Armour Thyroid in the US. It is sweet and I take it sublingually. I think that it might be Armour Thyroid in the original formulation. They are great. I don’t know how their prices compare but they are a fraction of what I paid for Nature Thyroid in the US and the medicine is much stronger, perhaps because I take it sublingually or perhaps because it actually is the old formulation without cellulose. I’m afraid they will run out after I post this but since the knowledge gained from STTM has saved me I thought that I should share.

    Reply
  4. Patricia Dunlop

    Your link to the “Contact Me” form for Canadian patients does not work. I am a Canadian living in Canada who uses dessicated thyroid medication. Previously I bought Armour Thyroid in the U.S. (Michigan).
    Patricia Dunlop

    (From Janie: Try again. It works! Or you can find the Contact link at the bottom of any page on STTM)

    Reply
  5. Jan

    Universal was great! They advised me on what the doctor needed to put on my prescription to switch me over from NatureThroid. I received my order in a reasonable time. I felt the price was great, considering what compounded would have cost me. I paid about $50 for 300 tablets of 1/2 grain.
    AND they have it in stock! Can’t complain there.

    yes universal puts them in prescription bottles.

    Far better service that Medco or Rite Aid ever gave me with getting dessicated!

    Reply
  6. Alice

    I ordered ERFA thyroid from Universal Pharmacy in Halifax. I paid about $38 for 200 tablets incl. shipping. I received it in about 2 weeks and their customer service was great. I even received a postcard and phone reminder when i should reorder! I paid out of pocket not through my insurance and it was cheaper. I usually make a $15 copay for 30 tablets…a 1 month supply. I was very satisfied.

    Reply
  7. Marie

    Has anyone else received Naturethroid pills that are nothing but placebo pills? Are we in some kind of nonconsensual nationalized healthcare experiment?

    Reply
  8. Judy

    I used Cross Borders Pharmacy. Their customer service is excellent. They called me to let me know when my order was shipped. It took about 1 and 1/2 weeks to arrive in Ohio. I got 500 pills for $110.00 (plus $10 shipping). When I called about ordering my refill early enough to allow time for it to come through US Customs, they sent the refill immediately, instead of me having to wait until my pills were nearly gone like we do here in the US. I am very happy with them.

    Reply
  9. Beth in T.O.

    I used NorthWestPharmacy.com They were very quick (about a week to California). I just ordered online then faxed my prescription for Armour or any similar natural thryoid.
    I paid $46.98 plus 9.99 for shipping for 100 pills. Refill is easy as I now have an account on their website, I just have to push a button to reorder.
    I am very happy with them.

    Reply
    • Katina

      My question is…how do you like the Armour? I am only on T3 right now because of how my body is with T4. Just nervous to give anything else a try.

      Reply
  10. Dwayne

    I must be one of the only people who is pretty disappointed right now. I ordered directly from ERFA Thyroid where I had my prescription faxed (which after the refills will be going through another Canadian pharmacy). The shipping price is ridiculous- it’s almost the same cost as the thyroid itself. I ordered on Jan 7th and they just shipped it out- so now it’s two weeks I have just waited for it to ship- not happy. And it’s way too expensive- With shipping it cost me $70.00 for a bottle of 100 tablets.

    Reply
  11. Barbara

    I ordered from Jan Pharmacy (new) in Manitoba. I got 200 tablets of 30 mg for $28.04. Shipping was $9.95 and they arrived in less than 5 days. (That may have been exceptional.) Service was great. Very responsive.

    Reply
  12. Paul

    I have used Universal several times now and they are super-friendly with excellent pricing. I have used another Canadian pharmacy but Universal Drugstore is my go-to place.

    Reply
  13. mette

    I ordered from universaldrugstore.com to Norway.
    After a few emails back and forth discussing dosage and strength etc, they confirmed my order on a Wednesday, and the next Thursday I received and signed for it at my door.
    The price was very reasonable, as Amy M lists above, and shipping was $40.

    Normally it isn’t really legal to buy prescription drugs from countries outside Europe. But customs only checks a few packages, and if they stop it, it’s possible to apply for a one time permission (from Legemiddelverket)in special circumstances.

    Reply
  14. Amy Haught

    I purchased from canadamedicineshop.com. It cost me $59.99 ($9.99 for shipping) for 100 60mg tablets. I ordered the Erfa on 1/13/2010. They just got around to shipping it on 1/22/2010. I spoke with a representative on 1/22/2010 (yes, I’m anxious to start my Erfa) who explained it should arrive within 3-8 days. I was taking the reformulated Armour but had to stop due to racing heart, and severe dizzyness–I never experienced these symtoms with the old armour. I am currently surviving on OTC Nutri-meds porcine tablets until my Erfa script arrives. I’ve found in order to relieve my dizzyness and severe fatigue I’ve got to take more of the Nutri-meds porcine tablets to get through the day. I’m counting each day until my Erfa arrives. I hope Erfa will bring relief to all who have been suffering!

    Reply
  15. Laura Caliguari

    I used old Armour until Oct. 2009 when my supply ran out. I then switched to Erfa Thyroid. My endo was nice enough to send my Rx to 77CanadaPharmacy.com. I ordered 200 60mg pills and paid $80 plus shipping. After reading other posts about Universal Pharmacy it sounds like I totally overpaid! I will say that 77CanadaPharmacy had great customer service and shipped on time. I will also say that I am thrilled to have found Erfa Thyroid. I use 120mg/day (chew with meal) and so far, so good. Thanks to everyone for all of the helpful information!

    Reply
  16. Deana

    I used Universal for ERFA and am completely pleased with them. I will use them as long as legally allowed. I take 4 grains sublingually. I am in New Mexico.

    Reply
  17. dex

    I started taking erfa about two weeks ago, I have taken Armour for almost ten years. Do I need the same dose or should I increase it some as I notice the T4 and T3 are sligtly less in erfa? I feel my hypo symptons returning since taking erfa. I have never taken anything sublingually is this the same pill or do I order something different? I took four grains of armour.

    Reply
  18. Regina

    To dex: you don’t NEED to take Erfa sublingual. It is just many of us did this with the old Armour and were doing good and neither the new Armour nor Major Labs nor Westhroid nor Naturethroid and whatever else I was on last summer worked well, and definitely not sublingual for me.

    Erfa seems pure and sweet, no filler, so for the ones who do well on sublingual it is heaven.

    You should probably try taking it as you did with Armour, and see how that works. If taking it like Armour does not work, maybe you do need more.

    Reply
  19. Lisa

    I had been on the original formulation of Armour and noticed a decline in my health after the reformulation. I went to Naturethroid but since it’s not available anymore, am left with my doctor pushing me towards compounded. I’ve had compounded before, and it was helpful, but nothing like the old Armour. I came here to see what my options were for a ‘generic’ and with my script for Armour in hand, I called Universal. Since my script is for Armour 120mg, I can’t fill it for Erfa, through Universal, until my doctor sends a new script for Armour 125mg. I haven’t read of the dosage differences between Armour and Erfa and when I called Universal last week, they told me if I had a script for Armour then I would have no problems getting Erfa filled with it. Well, Armour doesn’t come in 125mg so she won’t write it for that dosage. She won’t write for dessicated thyroid or Erfa, either; dessicated is too vague and she’s not heard of Erfa. So, what do I do? Any suggestions?

    From Janie: either you really need a new doc to do what’s right for you, or convince her to write it in grains, as Universal should take that, no matter the mgs. difference! Also try getting feedback in patient groups: http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/talk-to-others

    Reply
  20. Lisa

    Thank you, Janie, I did post to natural thyroid group.

    Reply
  21. Pat

    I ordered from Universal Drugstore, and have no complaints about the pharmacy, BUT the Canadian thyroid product was NOTHING LIKE Armour – it was worse than taking nothing at all, or like taking Synthroid ! YUK !!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  22. Connie

    I switched to ERFA at universal drugs store, I feel fabulous again after the armor reformulation left me felling bad, the price is good and their service is fabulous, thanks so much for letting us all know where to go !!!

    Reply
  23. carolyn hunter

    I got worse and worse on the reformulated Armour, but did NOT know WHY I was getting worse, …since I had NO knowledge of the re-formulation…..but my body did.

    when my regular mail order pharmacy sent me a letter telling me they could no longer get Armour, I went on an internet search… and gradually stumbled on the
    http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com web pages, where I got a huge education on WHAT was going on, and HOW I could get a replacement for natural dessicted thyroid. And WHETHER I was taking the correct doses and frequencies,…. based on my pulse and temperatures throughout the day.

    I discovered based on my weakness, exhaustion, and inability to DO anything, I was so deficient that I was actually near death at that point.

    As a result, I had to RAISE up my thyroid AND cortisone to an unusually large amount. (My body temperature was sinking and staying so low, and fluxuating wildly, up and down, I was freezing, and way below “normal”. )

    After experimentation, over several weeks, I ended up with a DAILY DOSE of aprox. 40 mg of hydrocortisone (oral) DAILY, and 315 mg of natural dessicated thyroid (Erfa) DAILY to cause the desired changes, and FINALLY stabilize my temperature.

    I am, for the first time in my recollected life, usually in the 98.0 or higher, after a morning start of 97.1.

    I also had to divide the doses into four doses, whereas previously I was taking a smaller daily amount,….and only two times a day.

    Erfa has done well for me, and I keep track of my temperatures several times a day,….so I will know WHEN, IF, and/or WHETHER ….I need to lower any of my doses.

    Reply
  24. Marla

    I ordered through Northwestpharmacy.com. They sent me 200, 60 mg, Erfa ‘thyroid’ pills. I’m on 120 mg a day. It ran $56.49 plus $9.99 shipping, $66.48 total. They are sweet and I can take them sublingually. The order took about 2 weeks from start to finish. I have 3 refills, so hopefully that process will be even easier.

    Reply
  25. Andrew Poretz

    Okay, great customer service experience I wanted to share. In December I ordered Erfa Thyroid from Canadadrugs.com, which I learned about from this page. Today they actually called me to ask if I was ready to get a refill! I said I still have nearly two months’ supply left so wasn’t ready to re-order, and this nice woman with a wonderful French-Canadian accent offered a 10% discount and will not process/charge the order for a month, and told me they now have free shipping, and also offered to call my doctor after that refill, since I only had one. So I’m pretty impressed. Definitely beats the robo calls from Duane Reade for my other meds, and the monthly e-mail refill reminders from drugstore.com (which has been out of Armour for months, so what’s the point?)!

    Reply
  26. Sharon

    Switched to erfa last year, needed about 25% higher dosage than previous brand. Got 100 180 mg tabs then, now cutting into 3 parts, 100 doses cost 10 cents apiece. Now looking for comparable savings–greed appears to have taken over. Jan pharmacy seems the closest reasonable alternative.

    Reply
  27. Jan

    I am in Ontario Canada and get my script for desicated Thyroid from Erfa @ Shoppers Drug Mart. I don’t understand why people are going online for it.

    However, I am having a problem finding someone who actually knows how to perscribe it properly. I reluctantly switched to Eltroxin….not staying on that crap! Blurry vision, tired etc. I am currently on nothing trying to find my way through this fog. I have the Thyroid, just don’t know how to dose properly.

    (From Janie: Because many of us who use and appreciate Erfa do not live in Canada)

    Reply
  28. Nikki

    I used Universal Drug and had a horrible experience. I e-mailed them my script 2 weeks ago and they still haven’t been able to get anything right. And what is up when they ask if I want it from New Zealand? They constantly put me on hold, one time they came back to see if I was still on hold than put me on hold again. They said my card was declined 2xs. So I called my flexcare people and they said the pharmacy hadn’t even tried to put it thru. They said there was no dosage listed on the script and there was. I will never use them, I had my script sent back to Smart Choice, the place I used the first time for my script. I only tried Universal as it was listed here as a good pharmacy. Grrr…. I am now out of my Erfa and will be out for about 7 days till Smart Choice can get them to me. I would have had them if Universal knew what they were doing.

    Reply
  29. Lynn

    Janie – I read on the http://www.realthyroidhelp.com site (under General Questions, then Thyroid Medications) that says Erfa is ineffective & not potent from UniversalDrugstore. I was getting mine from them. Three months ago I switched to Cynomel only to get rid of my RT3. I’m up in the air about going back on Erfa and instead just staying on Cynomel (I’ve recently cleared). I’ll see the doc in a month and he may suggest going back on Erfa or some other dessicated. Have you heard of the weak Erfa from Universal? If I go back on Erfa I want to get it from a reliable source and that site suggests 77canadapharmacy.com (although they are quite expensive). Do you get what you pay for??? What is your opinion and what are you hearing from everyone recently (2011-2012)?

    From Janie: there is a tendency among some patients to make “sweeping blanket statements” simply because of one or a few bad experiences. It is definitely true that some have had bad batches from Universal. But others have not. I got my current batch of Erfa earlier this year from Universal and have done quite well! If you get a bad batch, push hard to get a refund or ask for a better batch.

    Reply
  30. Linda K.

    I just placed my usual order @ universaldrugstore for the Erfa I’ve been taking. I usually get 100 tabs 60mgs. and 100 tabs 30mgs. I was informed that Erfa now makes 2 types of thyroid meds, one dessicated and one synthetic. They can only send the dessicated in quantities of 90 or 130 in the 30mgs. and 90 or 120 in the 60mgs. And the price is much higher for the dessicated, which must be specifically requested or you’ll get the synthetic.
    This info is not on their website nor can I find it anywhere else. Janie, can you verify the validity of their info? Thanks much.

    (From Janie: please call Erfa and let us know)

    Reply
  31. Faisal Ahmed

    I used to use Armour pre-2009 and it worked a treat… high energy, concentration and fantastic speech (no slurring)… now i am trying ERFA for 30 days.. swallowing as i do not understand benefit of taking under the tongue….. it is good (30mg a day) as glands dont hurt anymore also less bloated but i am getting racing heart beat (that worries me) and constanst wind i.e need to burp and speech is still slurred which is very awkward at work as a i am always presenting….. any thoughts from anyone on whether taking NP Accella may be of more benefit or another dessicated thyroid…. many thanks faisal

    Reply
  32. Faisal Ahmed

    I forgot to mention still getting a croaky and tired voice with ERFA which i never got with Pre Armour 2009… also taking with B12 which helps but it further increases the racing heart beat and palpitations……… would welome any thoughts… Faisal

    (From Janie: do this page http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/adrenal-info and see Chapter 5 in revised STTM book for more details, and get all four iron labs. Erfa is good)

    Reply
  33. Monica

    Those of you in Europe, why not try to order from Belgium? Several pharmacies in Belgium carry Erfa and most of them will ship to other European countries. They do require a valid European prescription, though, but it’s much easier to order intra-EU/EEA than from America or Asia.

    There is also the international pharmacy in Stuttgart, Interapo, which carries NDT and exports it to other EU/EEA states. A valid prescription is required, but they accept prescriptions from other European countries.

    Customs are not allowed to systematically check intra-community shipments, which makes this method so much easier and faster to use.

    Reply
  34. Amanda

    Has anyone ever ordered Erfa from Australia? I would really like to switch from thyroxine to Erfa but I will be moving back to Australia and will need to continue my healing there instead of Canada.

    Reply
  35. Tracey

    I tried to get my nurse practioner to prescribe me ERFA thyroid. I was told by the pharmacist it wasn’t listed for thyroid issues. ugh.. she wouldn’t give me a prescription. Anyone know a good doctor in calgary i can get it from?

    Reply
  36. DAWN ADILI

    I AM DOING HORRIBLE ON REFORMULATED ARMOUR SAME AS MOST HAVE GAINED 30LBS FEEL AWFUL ALL THE TIME AND JUST CAME ON TO SEE ABOUT ERFA AND NOW HEAR THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH THIS ??? WHAT COULD I POSSIBLY TAKE ???? I AM READY TO HANG MYSELF AM SO SICK OF BEING SICK AND TIRED !!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  37. Anna Davis

    Hi Janie. I was prescribed 1 grain of Thyroid. It was given / sold to me at the doctor’s office. There was no pamphlet or any sort of paperwork with it. I tried to research it online but haven’t had much luck. The name is just Thyroid and the name printed on the actual pill is TLC 023. The pill dosage is 2 grains so I need to split it in half. Is this the same medication as the Canadian Thyroid or something else? How do I find out what is in it? My next appointment is not for another month and the office staff is not very resourceful. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated.
    Anna

    Reply
  38. Cristina

    I’am from Romania. Where can i order Erfa with less shipping taxes? Is any any site I can order without prescription? Thanks!

    Reply
  39. Abby

    Hi, just new to learning about these natural options for hashimotos/thyroid issues. I am in overseas missions work and cannot see a doctor for at least another 6 months. Is there a way I can get some of these pills while in Indonesia? I won’t be able to get a prescription since I cannot see a doctor in the states. Is there a way I can order online with no prescription and have it sent here? I really want to start taking something but don’t know how to start without a doctor visit. thank you.

    Reply
  40. Lynne

    I understand US citizens can order this from Canada. I am a US citizen living abroad-anyone know if I can I get it?

    Reply
  41. Leslie

    What online pharmacies DON’T require a Rx?
    Canadian or other is fine, as long as they supply quality meds at a decent price.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • paula

      leslie did anyone tell you where to go without a prescription/ i also need a place to order. thanks. paula

      Reply
    • Victoria

      I would like to know how to order without a prescription please!

      Reply
  42. Noris

    I too would like to know where in Canada can I order Erfa without prescription. noris_o@yahoo.com

    Reply
  43. Sean Mosher

    Is there any place where I can order without a prescription?

    Reply
    • Annick

      Je cherche aussi la même chose puisque mon medecin refuse de me croire et de me donner autre chose que du symthroïde. Jai pourtant les resultats de mes prises de sang qui prouvent que ma t3 est. 05 en dessous de la norme. Grrr

      Reply
  44. gina

    I don’t even know why we need a RX for NATURAL desicated thyroid! It seems unlawful to me. We are allowed to eat any part of a pig including the thyroid – WITHOUT A RX!

    Reply
  45. Galina

    Janie, Many have asked but nobody has answered, please respond, where can we get natural thyroid without a prescription? Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • Janie Bowthorpe

      Galina, there’s nothing the FDA wants more than to shut all these places down by finding out who they are. So that needs to be done privately.

      Reply

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