Eisai Co., Ltd. (Headquarters: Tokyo, President & CEO: Haruo Naito, "Eisai") announced today that it has begun the free supply of diethylcarbamazine citrate (DEC) 100 mg tablets produced at its Vizag Plant in India to the World Health Organization (WHO) in line with its commitment to help WHO in its global effort to eliminate lymphatic filariasis in targeted developing and emerging countries.
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 people 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 for free 2.2 billion DEC tablets to WHO for use in national MDA programs.
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 worldwide are at risk of this disease. 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 Vizag 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 countries.