Guinness World Records announces a new world record for the most medicines – including MECTIZAN – donated in a 24-hour period.
Twenty-four hours. More than 207 million doses donated. The result? A new world record – not to mention the positive impact on the health of millions of people worldwide. In April, Guinness World Records awarded a certificate to a coalition of global health and development organizations -- Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) -- for the most medicine donated in 24 hours. Uniting to Combat NTDs is a collective of invested, interested and dedicated partners who work together to fulfill the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. The recognition took place during this year’s World Health Organization-hosted NTD Summit in Geneva, Switzerland. The World Record was awarded to Uniting to Combat NTDs and is shared by all pharmaceutical signatories of the London Declaration, along with other NTD partners.
So what led to this record-breaking donation?
It all started back in 2012, when Uniting to Combat NTDs endorsed the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. The London Declaration aimed to support the World Health Organization’s goal of controlling, eliminating and eradicating 10 specific diseases by 2020.
Fast forward five years, to January 2017.
In recognition of the fifth anniversary of the London Declaration, Uniting to Combat NTDs decided to put legs to its mission. They set an ambitious goal: organizing the documentation of a one-day mass donation of medicines, the scale of which had not been seen before.
As Bill Gates noted in a recent blog post, “a lot can happen in 24 hours.”
On January 30, Uniting to Combat NTDs “organized drug manufacturers, warehouse workers, delivery drivers, government officials, and health workers to deliver this historic number of donated drugs on four continents for distribution to people living in the remotest parts of the world,” Mr. Gates wrote.
In all, members donated more than 207 million medication doses to treat NTDs in 24 hours. Merck's donation of 4 million doses of MECTIZAN contributed to the record figure.
In addition to Merck, several organizations and companies helped to make the donation possible, including Bayer, Eisai, Gilead, GSK, Johnson & Johnson, Merck KGaA, Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi.
Read the Guinness World Records story to learn more.
MECTIZAN Donation Program: 30 years in the fight to eliminate river blindness and lymphatic filariasis
Continuing our commitment to addressing neglected tropical diseases, Merck recently announced a $300,000 cash donation to support non-governmental organization (NGO) partners working to eliminate river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Africa. The donation will be offered to 10 NGOs beginning this year, and will be administered through the MECTIZAN Donation Program (MDP). "Since the MECTIZAN Donation Program began 30 years ago, Merck and its global partners have made great strides to control and eliminate river blindness and lymphatic filariasis,” says Brenda Colatrella, executive director, Corporate Responsibility. “With both diseases now targeted for elimination, we hope this grant will enable our partner NGOs to achieve further progress toward that goal.”
The MECTIZAN Donation Program (MDP) and its partners currently reach more than 200 million people in more than 30 countries each year. Initially focused on river blindness, in 1998, Merck expanded the MDP to include oversight of the donation of MECTIZAN and GSK’s albendazole for the prevention of LF in African countries where the disease coexists with river blindness.
Since the program started in 1987, Merck has donated more than 2.5 billion treatments for river blindness and LF.
The program has been a catalyst in the formation of similar donation programs for other NTDs. The broad public-private partnership also supports the training of community health care workers and strengthening distribution systems through which other medicines, vaccines and medical supplies can be delivered in resource-poor settings.