EISAI INCREASES ITS COMMITMENT TO FIGHT NEGLECTED TROPICAL DISEASESTwo Innovative Programs Will Help Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis By 2020

Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President & CEO: Haruo Naito, “Eisai”), as one of the thirteen major research and development-based pharmaceutical companies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. and U.K. governments, the World Bank and governments from neglected tropical disease (NTD)-endemic countries, gave its support on January 30 (local London time) to the London Declaration, a coordinated effort to eliminate 10 NTDs by the end of this decade.

Eisai is committed to taking proactive steps to address issues related to access to medicines, including NTDs, in accordance with established policy as it expands its business in both emerging and developing nations in this era of great globalization. The company considers its contributions to the economic development and expansion of the middle-income class through the enhancement of health and welfare in these countries as a form of long-term investment for future growth. Eisai is the only Japanese company to join this coordinated program. In support of the London Declaration and the WHO’s program to eliminate lymphatic filariasis, Eisai has signed an agreement with the WHO to extend its support until 2020, during which Eisai will supply free of charge 2.2 billion tablets of the medicine DEC (diethylcarbamazine) until 2020, in line with the WHO elimination goals.

Lymphatic filariasis is controlled with three antiparasitic agents and the global shortage of DEC, one of the antiparastic agents, had been a limiting factor in the elimination of this debilitating disease. Eisai will start manufacturing DEC in accordance with the high quality standards of WHO at its plant in Vizag, India, and provide it to people in need as a price “zero” Eisai product, while working on the collection and provision of relevant safety information to ensure the appropriate use of the medicine. Never before has a pharmaceutical company agreed to produce and supply a medicine, including completing regulatory registration from scratch, solely for the purposes of an NTD elimination program. Eisai will begin supplying DEC from 2013, and plans to deliver this medicine to some 250 million people in the developing world by 2020.

In line with its commitment to support the WHO’s lymphatic filariasis elimination program, Eisai has also committed to provide 120 million DEC tablets to the WHO free of charge in collaboration with Sanofi and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to ensure a stable of supply of DEC until 2013 when the Eisai-produced DEC becomes available. This is the first partnership in which two pharmaceutical companies, with the Gates Foundation, have come together to supply a single drug for an NTD.

As a human health care (hhc) company, Eisai is committed to taking proactive measures to help solve global health issues such as neglected tropical diseases and access to medicines as it seeks to make contributions to increasing the benefits provided to patients and their families worldwide.

[ Please refer to the following notes for further information on NTDs, lymphatic filariasis, the London Declaration, and Eisai’s Commitment to Improving Global Access to Medicines ]

Media Inquiries:

Public Relations Department,
Eisai Co., Ltd.

< Notes to editors >

1. About Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

According to WHO, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs)*1blight the lives of more than 1 billion of the world's poorest 2.7 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 that are endemic for 6 or more. These diseases not only survive and spread in conditions of poverty, they also anchor large populations in poverty. NTDs can cause blindness and deform in ways that hinder economic productivity and cancel out chances for a normal social life. They can maim, debilitate, and kill. The consequences are costly for societies and for health care.

  • *1
    Buruli Ulcer, Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), Cysticercosis, Dengue/Severe dengue , Dracunculiasis (guinea-worm disease), Echinococcosis, Fascioliasis, Human African trypanosomiasis, Leishmaniasis, Leprosy, Lymphatic filariasis, Onchocerciasis, Rabies, Schistosomiasis, Soil transmitted helminthiasis, Trachoma, 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 causes lymphatic dysfunction. While infection is usually acquired during childhood, symptoms gradually appear over several years, with the most serious manifestations of the disease occurring in adulthood. The most serious manifestation, 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 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. The disease also causes patients and their families much emotional distress. Nowadays, lymphatic filariasis affects an estimated 120 million people in 81 countries worldwide, most of whom live in developing and emerging nations in Africa and South East Asia. The disease has been confirmed to have existed in Japan since the Heian Period (794-1184). However, Japan succeeded in eliminating lymphatic filariasis in the late 1970s as a result of initiatives carried out by the government in partnership with the public-private sector and became the first country in the world to demonstrate the successful achievement of lymphatic filariasis elimination.

Lymphatic filariasis is controlled with a combination of two out of three antiparasitic agents and the global shortage of DEC, one of the antiparasitic agents, had been a limiting factor in the elimination of this debilitating disease.

3. About the “London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases”

On January 30, 2012, the CEOs of 13 major global pharmaceutical companies*2, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department For International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and officials from NTD-endemic countries gathered in London to pledge their support for a coordinated effort to combat 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)*3 over the next ten years. In signing the “London Declaration on Neglected 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 on 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, and implementation programs as it seeks to more effectively combat NTDs.

  • *2
    Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Eisai, GlaxonSmithKline, Gilead, Johnson & Johnson, Merck (Merck KGaA: Germany), Merck Sharp & Dhome, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi
  • *2
    Guniea worm, lymphatic filariasis, blinding trachoma, sleeping sickness, leprosy, soil-transmitted helminthes, schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas, and visceral leishmaniasis

4. About Eisai’s Commitment to Improving Global Access to Medicines

Today, it is estimated that some 2.7 billion*4people around the world live on US$ 2 or less per day. Most of these 2.7 billion people do not have access to essential health care and treatment despite the availability of effective medicines. This is an international challenge that needs to be solved through collaborations among governments, international organizations such as the WHO, non-governmental organizations, and pharmaceutical companies.

In line with its human health care (hhc) mission, Eisai is committed to improving global access to medicines over the medium-to-long term through partnership strategies that involve working with governments, international organizations, private entities and non-profit organizations. Specifically, the company has developed and is implementing a five-target approach to improve access to medicines worldwide. The five key components are: product creations, strategic solutions, capacity building, quality innovation, and long-term investment.

For further information on Eisai’s Access to Medicines initiatives, please visit the Access to Medicines page on the Eisai Global website: https://www.eisai.com/company/atm/index.html

  • *4
    Source: World Bank (2005)