August 20, 2012
Eisai, alongside twelve other 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, 2012 to the London Declaration, a coordinated effort to eliminate 10 NTDs by the end of this decade and the largest ever global public-private partnership of its kind. As signatories to this declaration, the parties aims to eliminate NTDs more effectively by making exhaustive efforts to tackle issues pertaining to drug supply, distribution, new drug development, and infrastructure, amongst other things.
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 in the future growth of these economies. As part of this unwavering commitment, Eisai signed a statement of intent with the World Health Organization (WHO) in November 2011 in which it agreed to supply free of charge a total of 2.2 billion tablets of DEC (diethylcarbamazine), a medicine to treat lymphatic filariasis, one of the 10 NTDs designated for elimination. This commitment was further solidified when Eisai signed a final agreement concerning the provision of DEC during the London Declaration.
Lymphatic filariasis is controlled with three antiparasitic agents, however, the global shortage of DEC, one of the antiparastic agents, has 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 at the same time working to collect and provide 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 through the WHO's lymphatic filariasis elimination program to some 250 million people in the developing world by 2020.
In the London Declaration, Eisai also vowed that it would undertake the development of new medicines to treat Chagas disease and leishmaniasis, and promised to give its full cooperation to helping eliminate NTDs by 2020.