Illegitimate Online Pharmacies May Put Cancer Patients at Risk

Illegitimate on-line pharmacies that offer imatinib might endanger patients with most cancers, in accordance to study published in the Journal of the Nationwide In depth Cancer Community.

“The lack of basic safety steps taken by illegitimate on-line pharmacies endangers affected individual security for the reason that they make it possible for sufferers to acquire imatinib with out proper evaluation for response, drug interactions, and adverse outcomes,” the researchers wrote.

To discover illegitimate pharmacies advertising imatinib online, scientists entered the term “buy imatinib online” into 4 popular research engines—Google, Bing, Yahoo!, and DuckDuckGo. 

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The staff recognized and analyzed on the internet pharmacies that bought imatinib, ended up absolutely free to entry, experienced sites in English, and transported to the United States. The researchers utilized LegitScript to establish if the pharmacies complied with relevant rules and restrictions.

Pharmacy Classification

The researchers identified 44 pharmacies that in shape the aforementioned conditions. Only 7{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of these pharmacies were classified as “certified,” which signifies they have been vetted by LegitScript and are currently being monitored. 

A lot more than half of the pharmacies (52{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0}) have been classified as “rogue,” which indicates they interact in unlawful, unsafe, or misleading actions, such as advertising counterfeit, misbranded, or expired solutions. 

Thirty percent of the pharmacies ended up classified as “unapproved,” which indicates that they have some challenge with regulatory compliance, but it is considerably less severe than the troubles noticed with rogue pharmacies. 

The remaining 11{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of pharmacies ended up unclassified, as they were not in the LegitScript databases. 

Absence of Prescriptions, Information 

General, imatinib was marketed without having a prescription by 30{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the pharmacies, including 39{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the rogue pharmacies and 80{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the unclassified pharmacies. 

Some information and facts about imatinib administration was delivered by 75{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the pharmacies. Nonetheless, 23{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} did not provide any drug-similar warnings, and 14{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} did not contain tips to find medical doctor assistance. 

Some of the illegitimate pharmacies claimed to be registered with regulatory bodies, which include 77{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the unapproved pharmacies, 30{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the rogue pharmacies, and 20{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the unclassified pharmacies.

The pharmacies attracted potential buyers by way of various approaches. Affected individual testimonials or site posts ended up provided on numerous of the pharmacies’ websites—78{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the rogue, 67{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the accredited, 62{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the unapproved, and 40{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the unclassified pharmacies. 

In addition, 95{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} of the pharmacies advertised selling price special discounts on imatinib, 34{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} offered discount codes or marketing codes, and 23{2c3a8711102f73ee058d83c6a8025dc7f37722aad075054eaafcf582b93871a0} had bulk reductions. 

Expense Financial savings

The on-line pharmacies did sell generic imatinib and Gleevec at reduce charges than individuals seen at common brick-and-mortar pharmacies.

The median cost for 30 tablets of generic imatinib was:

  • $787.20 (range, $136.05–$9053.91) at brick-and-mortar pharmacies
  • $296.18 (variety, $165.00–$427.35) at qualified on the net pharmacies
  • $234.66 (vary, $28.50–$1342.99) at rogue pharmacies
  • $284.69 (variety, $126.00–$683.00) at unapproved pharmacies
  • $115.00 (selection, $65.00–137.50) at unclassified online pharmacies. 

The median selling price for 30 tablets of Gleevec was:

  • $10,513.66 (selection, $9968.87–$10,515.08) with a GoodRx coupon at brick-and-mortar pharmacies
  • $2704.00 (variety, $195.00–$4597.99) at rogue pharmacies
  • $2697.50 (vary, $1682.00–$4463.00) at unapproved pharmacies
  • Unavailable at licensed or unclassified pharmacies.

“Given the prohibitively superior charge of most cancers remedies, people with most cancers and suppliers have been attracted to on the web pharmacies that promise a lot more affordable medicines. Having said that, drugs that are much more affordable might be compromised,” the scientists wrote. 

“Patients may possibly have difficulty discerning no matter if precise on the web pharmacies are legitimate, since both of those certified and illegitimate websites utilized very similar marketing and advertising techniques by proclaiming selling price discounts, delivering delivers to speak with sales associates, and assuring privateness. Healthcare providers need to be informed of the prevalence of illegitimate on the net pharmacies and the risks people may face by making use of them.”


Solar Y, Hendrix A, Muluneh B, Ozawa S. On the web pharmacy accessibility of imatinib, an oral chemotherapy medication. J Natl Compr Cancer Netw. 202220:808-814. doi:10.6004/jnccn.2022.7007

This post initially appeared on Cancer Remedy Advisor