Public Citizen: Wrong About Armour Thyroid For More than a Decade

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Consumer advocate Ralph Nader founded the group Public Citizen. This group has a spin-off, a newsletter called "Worst Pills, Best Pills" newsletter. In May of 2003, the newsletter, which is published by Public Citizen's Health Research Group -- issued a poorly researched condemnation of Armour Thyroid - a brand of natural desiccated thyroid, declaring the drug to be on the group's "Do Not Prescribe" list.

The article, which was heavy on accusations, short on actual facts, and had factual inaccuracies, functioned as a poorly researched opinion piece presented as medical fact, and presented the same tired old arguments and mythology about Armour Thyroid.

At the time, I asked "What went wrong with this supposed consumer right champion?" and sent them a letter and wrote an article, outlining my concerns about their misinformation. I did not receive a response to my letter, but one patient did receive an email responding to her concerns.

It was astounding. Public Citizen graduated from unfounded opinion to totally erroneous information, insisting that Armour Thyroid is a non-prescription herbal supplement available over-the-counter. Their response came from Betty Blount, an RN, who wrote an error-laden email that illustrates how levothyroxine treatment. It's an option for them to try, and also desiccated can cause modest weight loss in these patients as well."

UPDATE

As of 2015, Worst Pills, Best Pills still has Armour Thyroid on their "do not use" list, incorrectly labeling it under "thyroxine" and stating "We list this drug as a Do Not Use drug because it is not adequately guaranteed to provide appropriate blood levels of thyroid hormone and reliable alternatives are available."

More than a decade later, and with more research available, Public Citizen and Worst Pills, Best Pills continues to be absolutely wrong about Armour Thyroid, and continues to disseminate inaccurate and misleading information about this drug that helps millions of patients. It's sad to see that some things never change...

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