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† B. Treating Thyroid Deficiencies More Economically

Narrator: This is Science Today. About eight million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism, which clinical pharmacist Betty Dong of the University of California, San Francisco says is caused by a thyroid hormone deficiency.

Dong: And thyroid hormone is a very essential hormone thatís made by this little thyroid gland in your neck that actually has pretty widespread consequences. In other words, you get a lot of symptoms from loss or deficiency of thyroid hormone but generally, tiredness, weight gain, feeling colder than other people.

Narrator: The most common drug used to remedy this problem is called synthroid, which Dong says has long been considered better than generic brands because of past potency problems. But after new FDA regulations, Dong found the generic products worked just as well.

Dong: What that means is maybe consumers can get just as good a product for much lower price and be just as well treated, so it has a lot of long term implications.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.