MDLinx Survey: Ninety Percent of US Oncologists Report Crucial Cancer Drug Shortage

June 5, 2012

Physicians express concern about safety of emergency overseas drugs approved by FDA

Washington, DC, May 23, 2012 – In an MDLinx ( survey conducted of 200 U.S. oncologists this month, 90.5 percent reported experiencing shortages of key cancer drugs in their practices.  MDLinx, a web property of M3 USA ( is the nation’s leading specialty physician portal and the most visited site on the web for U.S. oncologists.

“We have all read about the manufacturing challenges behind the shortages, but I was shocked to find that nearly all our physicians have experienced shortage issues. That represents a lot of cancer patients,” said Stephen Smith, Chief Marketing Officer for MDLinx. “The results become more alarming given the challenges already facing cancer patients and their doctors in the current financial environment. In an MDLinx survey in the third quarter of 2010, sixty-seven percent of responding doctors reported patients rationing medications or forgoing treatment due to financial and insurance coverage concerns,” said Smith.

Potentially affected by the shortage are treatment of some of the most common cancers, including cancers of the breast, prostate, lung, and head & neck, as well as various leukemias and lymphomas. The most frequently mentioned drug in the April 11-12 poll, with 70.5 percent of responding oncologists reporting experiencing a shortage, was doxorubicin. Cytarabine and methotrexate were the next two most commonly named drugs in short supply, at 40 and 30.5 percent, respectively.

Smith also pointed out that the combination of shortages, insurance limitations and financial pressures has some patients looking outside the system. “One in ten of our responding oncologists reported that they had experienced desperate patients going into the so-called “grey market” to find cancer meds. In addition to being expensive – the NY Times reported prices up to 650 percent of normal – these drugs may be less effective or even counterfeit,” said Smith.

The survey of also revealed that 42 percent of responding oncologists were concerned with the safety of imported cancer drugs approved on an emergency basis by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with 31.5 percent saying they were unsure and only 26 percent expressing full confidence in the overseas drugs. “Some drugs have to refrigerated,” pointed out one oncologist participating in the survey. “I worry about the efficacy of the drug when it has been shipped such long distances.

About M3 USA
M3 USA is part of M3, Inc., a publicly traded company on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. M3 USA, named to represent Medicine, Media, and Metamorphosis, was founded with the goal of changing the world of medicine through full use of the power of the Internet. M3 provides the life science industry with highly targeted interactive marketing, education, content, and research solutions. Through these means, we help healthcare professionals provide the best care by enabling them to stay current on the ever-evolving practice of medicine. In 2006 we started our service in the US through the acquisition of MDLinx, now the nation’s leading specialty physician portal and provider of online marketing solutions to the life sciences industry.

About MDLinx
MDLinx ( is an award-winning, practical medical information tool used by busy physicians and healthcare professionals to stay up to date with the latest research in the medical field. On a daily basis, the company’s physician editors read, rank and sort published data and research from leading news media and more than 1,300 peer-reviewed journals in 35 specialties. MDLinx’s content and services are provided at no charge to member physicians. MDLinx is a web property of M3 USA,, which offers information solutions to healthcare providers and industry.

Greg Jones for MDLinx