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Sarah asked...

Genesis pharmaceuticals tamoxifen

Hi, I've noticed that, on the two occasions my local pharmacy have given me the genesis pharmaceuticals tamoxifen, my side effects have greatly reduced. My doctor has now specified on my prescription that I should have this particular brand but the pharmacy have now said their suppliers can't get it. I've contacted various other locals pharmacists but they've all said that they can't get it. I don't pay for my prescriptions as I have a medical card. Do you know how I can find some way of getting this one please? It's got to the point where I'm tempted to just stop taking the other brands. Thank you.

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The answer

Sometimes people feel they are more suited to a particular manufacturer’s version of their medicine despite the active drug component being completely equal throughout all manufacturers. In this example, tamoxifen is the active part of the tablet formulation and the rest of the tablet is made from excipients. Excipients are inactive ingredients that aid the formulation process, such as lactose, which helps bind the tablet granules together. On the whole, the excipients used to make all tablets regardless of their active drug component are identical and from a standard variety. Owing to this, it is unlikely that they are contributing to the decrease in side-effects and increase in patient tolerance experienced with a particular manufacturer’s version. However, there are always exceptions and it would entail comparing the list of excipients of tamoxifen in the patient information leaflet of one manufacturer’s vs. another manufacturer. It is misconceptions that because the medicine comes from different manufacturers, it means they are different brands - this is not the case. In this example, there are in fact no brands of tamoxifen tablet, they are all made from various manufacturers as what is known as generic i.e. unbranded.

Obtaining a certain manufacturer’s generic can be difficult. Larger chain pharmacies are often restricted to a certain number of wholesalers to order their stock from and there often isn’t the flexibility to specify which manufacturers the wholesaler will be supplying. When a particular manufacturer generic is required, it can be more beneficial to contact independent pharmacies/non-chain pharmacies as they can choose themselves who to wholesale with and have more accounts with more suppliers or if they don’t, it is easier for them to set up accounts with new suppliers.

Sometimes the root cause can be directly with the manufacturer, for example, there may be an episode of batch contamination within the warehouses so production has to stop to rectify this and comply with regulations and thus supply to wholesalers and inevitably pharmacies ceases temporarily.

Another option in some instances is to contact the manufacturer direct, in this example Genesis, to enquire which wholesalers they supply in your area and/or which pharmacies they supply and if you find a pharmacy willing to oblige, how to set an account up between them and the pharmacy.

While physically taking medication is down to an individual, it is always advocated to speak with your GP/specialist if you are having thoughts of stopping your medicine and not to do so abruptly as it can do more harm than good.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses  

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