Beyond Providing Drugs: the Mectizan® Donation Stimulates New Strategies in Service Delivery and in Strengthening Health Systems

Author(s): Adrian Hopkins.

Journal Name: Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology

Volume 13 , Issue 6 , 2012

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Abstract:

The donation of Mectizan® by Merck & Co Inc. in 1987 “as much as was needed for as long as was needed for onchocerciasis control” was a major change from traditional corporate drug donations. The company realised that those who needed the drug most would never be able to purchase it, and so gave it away. The donation enabled the Onchocerciasis Control Programme in West Africa to add Mectizan distribution to its ongoing control strategy. For the first time there was hope for those living in other areas of Africa, Latin America and Yemen. Governments and non-governmental development organizations quickly got together to begin treatment in these new areas. Two new programmes and partnerships were created; the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control and the Onchocerciasis Elimination Programme for the Americas. These programmes have been in the forefront of developing new strategies, including the Community Directed approach, which has now expanded into other disease control programmes at the community level, such as Vitamin A distribution and malaria control. This donation has led not only to the probability of elimination of onchocerciasis in the Americas in the near future, but is stimulating approaches to the elimination in Africa, in areas considered impossible five years ago. Other major pharmaceutical donations have followed, initiating the plan to eliminate lymphatic filariasis worldwide, and also stimulating interest in controlling other “neglected tropical diseases,” which affect the poorest billion of the world’s population, making this now a reality.

Keywords: Community directed interventions, ivermectin, lymphatic filariasis, neglected tropical diseases, onchocerciasis

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Article Details

VOLUME: 13
ISSUE: 6
Year: 2012
Page: [1110 - 1119]
Pages: 10
DOI: 10.2174/138920112800399220
Price: $58

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