Firm supplies elephantiasis drugs

Health Watch, Normal

The National, Thursday November 7th, 2013

 EISAI Pharmatechnology and Manufacturing in India has begun supplying diet hylcarbamazine citrate 100mg tablets to the World Health Organisation. 

Produced at its Visakhapatnam plant, the  initial shipment of the tablets aimed at curbing lymphatic filariasis, commonly referred to as elephantiasis, will reach Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Fiji. 

The Indian subsidiary of the Japanese pharma major Eisai, will support the WHO efforts to eliminate the problem in developing and emerging countries, according to Sanjit Singh Lamba, president and managing director. 

An estimated 6.25 million people living in at-risk communities will benefit from mass drug administration programmes. 

Eisai is an active partner and signatory to the London Declaration, a global public-private partnership that aims to eliminate 10 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including lymphatic filariasis, by 2020. 

As part of its commitment to this global initiative, Eisai has agreed to supply 2.2 billion diet hylcarbamazine citrate tablets to WHO for use in national MDA programmes, free-of-cost, a company press release said. 

Elephantiasis is a parasitic disease transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito. 

Once transmitted, it can cause lymphatic dysfunction and lead to serious manifestations like 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 are at risk of this disease, globally. 

High-quality diet hylcarbamazine citrate (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. 

Having started the production of DEC at its Visakhapatnam plant in August, Eisai has now begun to provide a steady supply over a seven-year period from 2013 to 2020 for distribution through WHO’s MDA programmes to some 250 million people living in at-risk communities in 26 targeted countries. –