The Mectizan Donation Program was established in 1987 to oversee Merck & Co., Inc.'s donation of Mectizan for the control of onchocerciasis worldwide. In 1998, Merck expanded the mandate of the program to include lymphatic filariasis elimination through the co-administration of Mectizan and albendazole, donated by GlaxoSmithKline, in African countries and Yemen where lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis are co-endemic.
Currently, more than 70 million treatments are approved for onchocerciasis in Africa and Latin America and 80 million for lymphatic filariasis in Africa and Yemen each year. The success of both programs is largely due to the partnerships that have evolved in support of both disease control and elimination initiatives.
As the program approaches its 25th year of operation, the potential to eliminate both diseases as public health problems is not only feasible, but increasingly within reach. Our vision is a future free of the debilitating effects of both diseases.