HealthDay News — Many online pharmacies sell imatinib without requiring a prescription, and nearly one-quarter do not include warnings related to imatinib, according to a study published in the July issue of the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Yujiao Sun, PharmD, from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues examined the accessibility of imatinib through online pharmacies and analyzed each website for medication safety, price, and marketing tactics.

Forty-four online pharmacies were identified: Only 3 (7%) were certified and the rest were classified as rogue, unapproved, or unclassified (23, 13, and 5 [52, 30, and 11%], respectively). The researchers found that 13 online pharmacies sold imatinib without a prescription. Ten online pharmacies selling imatinib did not include drug-related warnings on their websites, and 21 did not limit the quantity that could be purchased. Thirty-four of the pharmacies did not offer pharmacist consultations; however, nearly all websites (91%) extended offers to speak with sales associates. Most online pharmacies (95%) claimed price discounts; only 23 and 34% provided bulk discounts or coupons, respectively. Of the rogue pharmacies, one-third (7) claimed to be registered or accredited on their websites.

“Providers should be aware of easy access to oral oncolytics online and be sure to educate and assist patients in obtaining medications through safe and legitimate sources,” the authors write.

Abstract/Full Text