Sustainable Access
Path to Fight Schistosomiasis

Setting up a new access path, complementary to donations, to extend population reach and move towards long-term sustainability.


Access to treatments for neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) is currently based primarily on philanthropic donations. These donations, such as for schistosomiasis, have significantly contributed to decreased endemicity around the globe and remain necessary to ensure access for targeted populations. For example, our provision of up to 250 million praziquantel tablets per year, through our partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), enabled the treatment of schistosomiasis in nearly 700 million patients, mainly school-aged children, as of 2007 onwards.

Aimed at eliminating 20 NTDs, the 2021-2030 WHO NTD Roadmap raises the bar and underlines the need for additional interventions to meet this ambition, including new treatments to address remaining unmet medical needs and populations, development of sensitive diagnostics, infrastructures for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) and disease awareness creation in communities as part of behavioral change initiatives. Reaching elimination of schistosomiasis also means that all populations at risk, including preschool-aged children and adults, need to be treated, as outlined in the WHO’s new treatment guidelines.

In this context, innovative access models to provide additional medicines and interventions are prerequisites to ensure long-term sustainable and equitable access at country level, strengthening country ownership and empowerment in the fight against NTDs.   

Waltz Johannes 2022 Us Waltz Johannes 2022 Us

As part of our contribution to accelerate and expand access to health in low- and middle-income countries, we continue to collaborate to explore new mechanisms for access to medicines in the area of neglected tropical diseases, such as schistosomiasis.

Johannes Waltz

Head of Schistosomiasis Elimination Program

Global Health at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

our Approach

We apply an integrated approach to fight schistosomiasis until its elimination as a public health burden. Within this approach, we continue providing praziquantel tablets for mass drug administration programs, through our partnership with WHO.  In addition, together with our partners, we have focused our efforts on a potential new pediatric treatment option for preschoolers and have contributed to the development of a highly sensitive and specific rapid diagnostic test to support countries in their fight against schistosomiasis.

Based on our holistic access framework for availability, affordability and accessibility of our innovations and products in low- and middle-income countries, we also aim to  collaboratively set up  an innovative access mechanism to fight NTDs based on: high-quality local manufacturing to ensure production; an “at-cost” procurement based-model for the products; a well-defined country implementation path for long-term sustainable access in countries.

Beatrice Greco Beatrice Greco

Sustainable access paths for innovative products need to be established to fill the current gap that countries are facing in accessing the necessary interventions to eliminate NTDs. Establishing such new model is our priority to ensure that our innovations for schistosomiasis are timely reaching underserved populations.

Beatrice Greco

Head of R&D and Access

Global Health Institute, Global Health at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

  • Health for All

    Around two billion people across the globe do not have adequate access to health.  That’s why we have made it a high priority to address this global health disparity.

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  • Access to Healthcare

    Access to health enables sustainable access to our health solutions to address local unmet medical needs in low- and middle-income countries.

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  • Schistosomiasis

    Over 240 million people suffer from the neglected tropical disease schistosomiasis. Together with our partners, we plan to eliminate this disease once and for all.

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