DHL and Merck Sharp & Dohme Team Up to Enhance Delivery of MECTIZAN to the Developing World
Leaders in Air Express Delivery and Pharmaceutical Innovation Collaborate on Program to Treat River Blindness and Lymphatic FilariasisParis, 07/25/2005, 11:30 AM CEST
DHL and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) 1 today announced that they have signed an agreement to enhance the delivery of MSD's medicine MECTIZAN (ivermectin) to patients affected by the diseases river blindness (onchocerciasis) and lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Under the new arrangement, DHL will offer at-cost shipping of MECTIZAN from MSD's facility in Clermont-Ferrand, France to endemic countries through DHL's reliable air express services. The new agreement builds upon an existing relationship between DHL and MSD and combines the core capabilities of the two companies to ensure rapid and flexible delivery of the drug.
MECTIZAN is an antiparasitic drug discovered, developed and manufactured by MSD. In 1987, Merck established the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) and began a long-term commitment to donate MECTIZAN to treat river blindness worldwide until the disease is eliminated as a public health problem. An estimated 120 million people are at risk of contracting river blindness in 35 developing-world countries.
In 1998, MSD expanded the MDP to include the prevention of another parasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis, in Africa and Yemen where the two diseases co-exist. Lymphatic filariasis threatens more than 1 billion people, one third of whom live in Africa.
"MSD's mission of putting patients first means it isn't enough to simply discover and develop novel medicines and vaccines. We also have a responsibility to pursue creative and effective partnerships - such as this one with DHL - that can help bring crucial medicines to people around the world," said Michel Iguer, Regional Director and Vice President of Europe, Middle East and Africa for MSD. "This agreement is evidence of DHL's commitment to using its logistics expertise to benefit the global community."
Since 1987 MSD has donated more than 400 million doses of MECTIZAN - more than 1.2 billion tablets - for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis. Currently MECTIZAN reaches more than 45 million people for river blindness and some 25 million people for lymphatic filariasis each year.
DHL has a high level of competency for the movement of drugs and medicines around the world through its dedicated Life Sciences logistics business unit and is pleased to support MSD's work with the MECTIZAN program. "Our mission to provide customized solutions to the life science industry is further enhanced when we have an opportunity to contribute to this type of humanitarian program," stated Robert Krautheim, Global Head of DHL Life Sciences.
Efficient and robust delivery systems are a key building block for medical access programs in the developing world to ensure adequate and uninterrupted supply, while minimizing the risks of diversion, theft, or replacement by counterfeits. This new partnership between DHL and MSD to ship MECTIZAN at cost represents an important element of this process.
Today's news follows the announcement on May 5, 2004 that DHL would deliver MSD's antiretroviral medicines, CRIXIVAN (indinavir sulfate) and STOCRIN (efavirenz), at cost by air express to designated treatment centers in two dozen countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2001, MSD has made CRIXIVAN and STOCRIN available in the poorest countries and those hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries at prices at which MSD does not profit.
- 1|Merck & Co., Inc. operates as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in all countries outside the United States and Canada (except Japan, where Merck operates as Banyu).
- Merck & Co., Inc. operates as Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) in all countries outside the United States and Canada (except Japan, where Merck operates as Banyu).