A message is circulating through various social media platforms advising the recipients that IMITINEF MERCILET, a medicine that cures blood cancer, is available free of cost from the Yashoda Hematology Cancer Institute, Pune. We investigated and found that the message is misleading. The ‘Imitinef Mercilet’ is apparently an alternative spelling of the drug Imatinib mesylate as mentioned in the viral message. The medicine is used in the treatment of some forms of leukaemia along with other types of cancer.
A message is doing rounds on social media making an astonishing claim that a medicine named IMITINEF MERCILET can cure blood cancer and is available free of cost at a cancer institute in Pune.
Here is a snapshot of the viral message:
We performed a Google search using relevant keywords and found out that various versions of this message have been doing rounds since 2010 with different details of the hospitals. Many posts shared earlier mentioned the name of Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai and not Yashoda Clinic of Pune. Here are some examples:
Team THIP tried calling the numbers mentioned on the viral message in order to seek information of the medicine mentioned. All the numbers mentioned were disconnected or unreachable.
On Practo, we found a doctor responding to an enquiry related the medicine named ‘IMITINEF MERCILET’.
Dr. Kaushal Yadav, Surgical Oncologist responded: “Any drug is given based on certain characteristics of cancer. There is no blind drug for all cancer.”
Dr. Kaushal Yadav’s medical registration and profile were verified from the Practo site.
In a press conference held in 2012, Dr Vishal Rao, Consultant, Head and Neck surgery, HCG Cancer, said,
“We don’t know who are spreading such rumours or it’s just a trick. People are coming to us and inquiring about it. In allopathic medical system, we only prescribe evidence based medicine which cures the disease.”
Team THIP contacted Dr. Manish Singhal, Oncologist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Noida asking the information related to the viral claim and he quoted: “The correct name of the medicine is IMATINIB MESYLATE. It is for chronic myeloid leukemia, a chronic blood cancer. It is a slow cancer. Even if untreated usual survival is 5 years. So not all cancers. IMATINIB is a breakthrough no doubt. It is Novartis research product.. Trade name is GLIVEC. Doctors registered under GLIVEC INTERNATIONAL PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (GIPAP) can prescribe.”
Is the drug available free of cost?
While the IMATINIB medicine is not applicable for all types of cancers, Adyar Cancer Institute as mentioned in the messages circulated online provides free treatment for cancer.
Team THIP searched the claim on the official website of Adyar Cancer Institute and it read: Of the hospital beds, only 40% are paying beds and the remaining are general beds where patients are boarded and lodged free of cost. 40% of the patients are treated totally free and remaining patients pay a nominal amount.
As per SEHAT (an online database and finder of doctors across India), Adyar Cancer Institute is mentioned in the list of top hospitals in India that offer free cancer treatment. The description in SEHAT reads: Out of its 535 beds, 40 percent are chargeable and on an average 66% get either free or reduced rate treatment.
However, there is no such mention at Pune’s Yashoda Hematology Clinic’s social media pages.
The message claiming IMITINEF MERCILET cures blood cancer is misleading. ‘Imitinef Mercilet’ is apparently an alternative spelling of the drug Imatinib mesylate as mentioned in the viral message. The medicine is used in the treatment of some forms of leukaemia along with other types of cancer.
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