Supply of DEC for Lymphatic Filariasis Elimination

Partnership Objective

To eliminate lymphatic filariasis.

Activities to eliminate lymphatic filariasis worldwide. Activities to eliminate lymphatic filariasis worldwide. Copyright WHO/Bangladesh

What are the health needs and challenges?

Lymphatic filariasis is a parasitic disease that is transmitted to humans by a mosquito bite. Once transmitted, it causes lymphatic dysfunction that leads to other serious physical disabilities such as elephantiasis. Currently, the disease still affects an estimated 120 million people in 73 countries worldwide, mostly in developing and emerging nations in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Lymphatic filariasis can be treated with a combination of two anti-parasitic agents including diethycarbamazine (“DEC”). Large-scale interventions in which all inhabitants of endemic areas are administered DEC once a year for at least five years is effective in eliminating the disease. As of December 2016, Eisai has delivered 850 million tablets for 27 countries.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

The current insufficient supply of DEC has hindered global elimination efforts. As a global pharmaceutical company committed to improving health of all individuals worldwide, Eisai has decided to manufacture and supply DEC free of charge to WHO, facilitating achievement of the 2020 elimination target. Eisai will provide the WHO up to 2.2 billion 100mg tablets of DEC in accordance with WHO’s high quality standards over seven years beginning in 2013. Production of the medicine is conducted at Eisai's Vizag Plant in India.

Eisai developed the formulation and conducted bioequivalence studies before submitting its application to WHO for prequalification in October 2012. After a relatively smooth evaluation process, Eisai was able to receive prequalification for the DEC tablets less than 10 months from submission of the application. The prequalification was a crucial milestone that will see Eisai deliver “Eisai-original,” high-quality DEC tablets to 250 million people living in at-risk communities in countries where lymphatic filariasis is endemic, thereby contributing to successful elimination of the disease.

Together with supplying DEC tablets to WHO, Eisai has assigned internal “DEC Project Managers” who are responsible for planning and execution of lymphatic filariasis elimination activities. The majority of staff appointed as DEC Project Managers are from Eisai subsidiaries in lymphatic filariasis endemic countries throughout Asia, and they discuss with government officials in charge of lymphatic filariasis as well as other relevant stakeholders in other regions what way can we contribute to the early realization of elimination from a local perspective.


Tackling Lymphatic Filariasis

Partnership information

Company(ies) Eisai

Partner(s) World Health Organization (WHO)

Type of Partner(s) IGOs

Therapeutic Focus Neglected Tropical Diseases

Disease(s) Lymphatic Filariasis

Program Type(s) Availability of Treatment - Product Donations, Prevention Programs - Mass Drug Administrations (MDA)

Targeted Population(s) Children, Elderly, Men, Patients in needs of treatment, People with low income, Women, Youth

Region(s) East Asia & Pacific, Latin America & Caribbean, Middle East & North Africa, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Number of Countries 26

Country(ies) Bangladesh, Brazil, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Fiji, Guyana, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Kiribati, Lao PDR, Madagascar, Malaysia, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Tuvalu, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Research Country(ies) India, Japan

Start Date 2013

More information Press Release

Anticipated completion date 2020