Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany Donates one Billionth Praziquantel Tablet

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany today announced that it has already donated 1 billion tablets of praziquantel, the standard medication for the treatment of schistosomiasis, to the World Health Organization (WHO)

30 Jan 2020 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany is working with the World Health Organization towards the elimination of the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis (also known as bilharzia or snail fever)
  • The donation enabled the treatment of 400 million school-aged children in Sub-Saharan Africa since 2007
  • More than 240 million people worldwide require treatment and around 200,000 die from complications each year

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, today announced that it has already donated 1 billion tablets of praziquantel, the standard medication for the treatment of schistosomiasis, to the World Health Organization (WHO). This marks a crucial milestone on the journey to the elimination of this neglected tropical disease (NTD) which mostly affects children in poor and rural communities. Since 2007, the company’s praziquantel donations enabled the treatment of 400 million school-aged children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

"We continue to focus on holistic solutions that draw on the power of collaboration to create a world free of schistosomiasis,” said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board and CEO Healthcare at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. “Together with our partners, we are determined to progress forward until we reach our goal to eliminate this neglected tropical disease.”

The one billionth tablet of donated praziquantel was part of a delivery of almost 37 million tablets to Nigeria. Since 2011, this country in West Africa has received almost 180 million praziquantel tablets. According to WHO, Nigeria is one of the countries with the highest burden of the disease with 25 million people affected in 2018, two thirds being school-aged children.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has been fighting against schistosomiasis with its partner WHO since 2007 in the scope of its Schistosomiasis Elimination Program. Both parties committed themselves to continue their work in fighting the disease until its elimination. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany has set itself the goal to achieve this in selected countries by 2030 through a comprehensive approach combining treatment, research and development, health education and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene). The company further continues to develop new and optimized treatments, diagnostics and innovative technologies to control transmission.

Schistosomiasis is a chronic condition and one of the most common and most devastating parasitic diseases in tropical countries. More than 240 million people worldwide require treatment and it is estimated that around 200,000 die from complications each year. The parasitic disease stunts growth, causes learning disabilities, and leads to anaemia.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany announced this major milestone on the first World NTD Day, on January 30th, 2020. The launch of this international day marks an important step towards increased public awareness of the serious impact NTDs have all over the world. The World NTD Day is supported by over 240 international partners including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Vision and companies such as Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany to put the spot on NTDs, raising awareness and calling for action.

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