Eisai Begins Free Supply of Diethylcarbamazine in Line with its Global Commitment to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis
November 5, 2013 - New Delhi, Delhi, India
The Pacific island nations of Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji have been confirmed as the first countries to receive the initial shipment. An estimated 6.25 million people1 living in at-risk communities will benefit from mass drug administration (MDA) programs.
Eisai is an active partner and signatory to the London Declaration, a global public-private partnership that aims to eliminate ten neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including lymphatic filariasis, by 2020. As part of its commitment to this global initiative, Eisai has agreed to supply 2.2 billion DEC tablets to WHO for use in national MDA programs, free of cost.
Lymphatic filariasis, commonly known as elephantiasis, is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. Once transmitted, it can cause lymphatic dysfunction and lead to serious manifestations such as lymphoedema, causing painful and disfiguring manifestations of the disease. Currently, an estimated 120 million people are already affected and more than 1.4 billion people are at risk of this disease, globally. High-quality DEC (one of the drugs used to treat lymphatic filariasis) is in short supply worldwide and is not easily accessible to at-risk populations in lymphatic filariasis-endemic countries. This poses a major obstacle for eliminating the disease.
Having started the production of DEC at its Visakhapatnam Plant in India in August 2013, Eisai has now begun to provide a steady supply of DEC tablets over a seven-year period from 2013 to 2020 for distribution through WHO's MDA programs to some 250 million people living in at-risk communities in 26 targeted countries2.
Eisai believes that contributing to the improvement of global health and access to medicines in developing countries is a form of long-term investment that contributes to the economic growth of these countries. The company remains actively committed to addressing overall issues in global health, including NTDs, in order to further increase the benefits provided to patients and their families worldwide.
Eisai Knowledge Centre at Visakhapatnam, a part of Eisai´s global manufacturing and research network, is a global supply hub for increasing access to medicine at affordable prices. The integrated manufacturing facility at Visakhapatnam, supplies high quality Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients and Oral Solid Dosage products globally, including Japan. The facility has approvals from USFDA, MHRA, WHO Geneva, PMDA Japan, Korean FDA etc. The Research Centre has highly qualified and skilled research scientists who work on the most advanced research and analytical equipment, contributing to the development of the new chemical entities for meeting the unmet medical needs.
The Eisai site in Visakhapatnam was awarded by International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) as Facility of the Year award–2012 in the best project execution category. Eisai Visakhapatnam is the only facility in India to have won this prestigious international award from ISPE.
Notes to editors
1. About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NTDs blight the lives of more than 1 billion of the world’s poorest 2.4 billion people. There are 149 countries and territories where NTDs are endemic, at least 100 of which are endemic for 2 or more of these diseases, and 30 countries and territories of which are endemic for 6 or more. These diseases not only survive and spread in conditions of poverty but also anchor large populations in poverty.
(NTDs designated by WHO for control or elimination: Buruli ulcer, Chagas disease,cysticercosis/taeniasis, dengue/severe dengue, dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), echinococcosis, food-borne trematodiases, human African trypanosomiasis, the leishmaniases, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, rabies, schistosomiasis, soil-transmittedhelminthiases, trachoma, and yaws)
2. About Lymphatic Filariasis
Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. Once transmitted, it can cause lymphatic dysfunction. While infection is usually acquired during childhood, symptoms often gradually appear over several years, with the most serious manifestations of the disease occurring in adulthood. One of the most serious manifestations, known as elephantiasis, is a permanent physical disability in which a patient’s lower extremities swell to resemble those of an elephant. In addition to impacting on a patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks, it historically has led to many patients falling victim to social persecution due to biases against the disease. As such, patients and their families may also suffer much emotional distress. Today, lymphatic filariasis affects an estimated 120 million people in 73 countries worldwide, most of whom live in developing and emerging countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and other tropical regions. In Japan, the disease is confirmed to have existed since the Heian period (794-1184), but was successfully eliminated in the late 1970s as a result of initiatives begun roughly ten years earlier by the Japanese government in partnership with the public-private sector, with Japan subsequently becoming the first country in the world to successfully eliminate lymphatic filariasis.
3. About the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
On January 30, 2012, the CEOs of 13 major global pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.K. Department for International Development, the World Bank, and officials from NTD-endemic countries gathered in London to pledge their support for a coordinated effort to combat ten NTDs* by 2020. In signing the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, each of the partner companies and organizations also pledged new levels of commitment to defeating these diseases.
The London Declaration represents the largest coordinated effort to date, and unlike past approaches undertaken by an individual organization or for a single disease, the group has committed itself to working collaboratively in an effort to comprehensively tackle issues pertaining to drug supply, distribution, development, implementation programs, and other areas as it seeks to more effectively combat NTDs. For further information, please visit the website (http://www.unitingtocombatntds.org/).
*Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, human African trypanosomiasis, leprosy, soil-transmitted helminthiases, schistosomiasis, onchocerciasis, Chagas disease, and visceral leishmaniasis.
1WHO Preventive Chemotherapy and Transmission Control (PCT) Databank (as of 2012)
2Bangladesh, Brazil, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gambia, Guyana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Federated States of Micronesia, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, São Tomé and Príncipe, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Source: Business Wire India