Local Pharmacists Ignore FDA Warning

We have learned at least three local pharmacies fill prescriptions with the hormone the FDA says is illegal.

Pharmacist Robin Johnson says she won't give up filling estriol prescriptions even though the FDA calls it a violation.  "I'm not afraid of them, I don't have anything to hide. I am comfortable with what we do," says Johnson. She notes it's a pill she takes herself. "The compound that I use that uses estriol, estradiol, and progesterone, I'm very comfortable with. I think it's my personal choice and I am very comfortable with that choice."  Her pharmacy fills 150 prescriptions for the estriol-based compound a month.

But the FDA warns it does not review compounded drugs that contain estriol. "Estriol has never been approved as a safe and effective ingredient in product use in the United States," says FDA spokeswoman Susan Cruzan. Cruzan says that's why pharmacies like Johnson's one must stop selling pills with that ingredient. "What we are trying to do is make sure that things that are out there on the market that are being advertised are not making false and misleading claims," says Cruzan.

But Johnson says there's a hidden agenda. "Do you see this?" asks Johnson. "Do you see how wrong this is? They're not addressing any complaint." Johnson complains the FDA is protecting big drug companies over patients' choice.  The FDA insists it is acting on concerns over the drug ingredient from thousands of women around the country. But for now local pharmacies say they'll keep supplying patients with the controversial prescription.