This story was first published on July 29, 2010
Message advises recipients that “Imitinef Mercilet”, a medicine that cures blood cancer, is available free of charge from the Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai, India.
The Adyar Cancer Institute is a real health facility. “Imitinef Mercilet” is apparently an alternative spelling of the cancer drug, Imatinib mesylate. It is true that Imatinib (or “Imitinef”) is available free of charge for patients who have been admitted to the Adyar Cancer Institute hospital for cancer treatment. However, the Institute is not handing out the drug freely to all as suggested in the message. Moreover, the drug certainly does not cure all blood cancers as claimed in the message.
Subject: Free Medicine for Blood Cancer!!!! Please don’t delete this without forwarding
I have forwarded it to the maximum I can.
Let it reach the 110 crores Indians and the remaining if any.
Put yourself, if you or your brother or sister or your mom and dad or any x, y, z near you, got affected, then how u would have reacted, think it, Forward it.
‘Imitinef Mercilet’ is a medicine which cures blood cancer. Its available free of cost at “Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai”. Create Awareness. It might help someone.
Forward to as many as u can, kindness cost nothing.
According to this message, India’s Adyar Cancer Institute is distributing, free of charge, a medicine named ‘Imitinef Mercilet’ that cures blood cancer. The message has been circulating via email and social networking websites since 2010.
However, although there are some elements of truth to this message, it is also potentially misleading and contains inaccurate information.
The Adyar Cancer Institute is a real health facility located in the city of Chennai, India and, as its name implies, it indeed specialises in cancer treatment and research. The Adyar Cancer Institute has achieved great results in the treatment and research of cancer since its establishment in 1954.
I contacted a spokesperson at the Adyar Cancer Institute to ask about the veracity of the message. He sent me the following reply:
Only the Part of this message is true. The medicine Imitinef is available free for only qualified persons and not for all. It is free for those who have admitted in the hospital for treatment.
‘Imitinef Mercilet’ is apparently an alternative spelling of the drug Imatinib mesylate which is used in the treatment of some forms of leukaemia along with other types of cancer. Imatinib, often referred to a “Gleevec”, has proved to be an effective treatment for some forms of cancers. However, “blood cancer” is a generalised term for cancers that affect the blood, lymphatic system or bone marrow. The three types of blood cancer are listed as leukaemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. These three malignancies require quite different kinds of treatments. While drugs (including Imatinib), along with other treatments such as radiation can help to slow or even stop the progress of these cancers, there is currently no single drug treatment that can be said to actually cure all such cancers.
Moreover, it should be noted that Imatinib is available for cancer patients in many different health facilities around the world, not just the Adyar Cancer Institute.