London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases
The London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases is a collaborative disease eradication programme launched on 30 January 2012 in London. Inspired by the World Health Organization 2020 roadmap to eradicate neglected tropical diseases, officials from WHO, the World Bank, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world's 13 leading pharmaceutical companies, and government representatives from US, UK, United Arab Emirate, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mozambique and Tanzania participated in a joint meeting at the Royal College of Physicians to make this project. The meeting was spearheaded by Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, and Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This declaration is the largest coordinated effort to date in health issues and it aims to eliminate or control 10 neglected diseases by 2020 by providing more than US$785 million to support research and development. These diseases are most rampant in the economically deprived regions of the world and affect 1.4 billion people, and are responsible for the persistent backwardness in human development.
The neglected diseases
The rather ambitious commitment is to eradicate Guinea worm disease, and eliminate lymphatic filariasis, leprosy, African sleeping sickness and blinding trachoma; and to control schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminthiasis, Chagas disease, visceral leishmaniasis and river blindness.
- Abbott: A US-based global pharmaceutical and health care company works for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all major neglected diseases. It provides innovative technologies, drug compounds and scientific expertise, academic research and health education.
- AstraZeneca: A British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical and biologics company headquartered in London.
- Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals: A division of Germany's pharmaceutical company supports the fight against Chagas disease and African sleeping sickness. The company will specifically make their products nifurtimox and suramin, the drugs of choice for the disease respectively, doubly accessible in South America and Africa, where the diseases are prevalent.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Perhaps the single most enthusiastic individual for the declaration, Bill Gates and his private foundation, will support funding towards eradication programmes of all the diseases. The foundation has put up a 5-year US $363 million commitment, the largest funding for the project.
- Becton Dickinson: An American medical technology company.
- Bristol-Myers Squibb: A New York-based pharmaceutical company.
- The Children's Investment Fund Foundation: A UK charitable organisation.
- Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi): A global research and development organisation with headquarters at Geneva will actively work for development of new drugs (such as oxaborole, fexinidazole) and perform clinical trials.
- Eisai: A Japanese pharmaceutical company with headquarters at Tokyo manufacture and supply Diethylcarbamazine (up to 2.2 billion 100 mg tablets) free of charge to WHO to combat lymphatic filariasis.
- Gilead Sciences: A biopharmaceutical company in California that discovers, develops and commercializes therapeutics will donate 445,000 vials of its AmBisome over five years (equivalent to $8 million) for treatment of visceral leishmaniasis.
- GlaxoSmithKline: A London-based multinational pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare company headquartered will donate 400 million albendazole tablets each year to fight soil-transmitted helminthiasis. Further it will continue to provide 600 million tablets albendazole per year for lymphatic filariasis as long as necessary until the disease is eliminated.
- Johnson & Johnson: An American multinational medical and consumer packaged goods manufacturer will work through its collaborative project Children Without Worms in the dissemination of drugs and providing health education. It will extend its existing donation of mebendazole (200 million tablets per year) for soil-transmitted helminthiasis.
- Lions Clubs International: A secular service club in Illinois supports blindness prevention through its SightFirst programme to fight blinding trachoma. The SightFirst has allocated over US$11 million in 10 countries for eye surgeries, medical training, distribution of Zithromax and tetracycline, and sanitary services. It has also announced US$6.9 million funding to support the Government of China.
- Merck KGaA: A German chemical and pharmaceutical company will continue to donate praziquantel for schistosomiasis indefinitely. It will increase its annual donation from 25 million tablets at present to 250 million tablets (worth US$23 million per year).
- Merck Sharp & Dohme, MSD: An American pharmaceutical company will run Mectizan Donation Program to provide invermectin for river blindness and lymphatic filariasis.
- Mundo Sano: An international non-profit organization based in Argentina to fight against Chagas disease and STHs. It contributed US$5 million for project expansion and program enhancement for selected sites in the Americas and Africa.
- Novartis: a Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company based in Basel will extend its commitment to provide multi-drug therapy (rifampicin, clofazimine and dapsone) to eradicate leprosy.
- Pfizer: A New York-based American multinational pharmaceutical corporation will continue its donation of azithromycin for blinding trachoma until at least 2020.
- Sanofi: A French multinational pharmaceutical company headquartered in Paris will extend its existing donation of eflornithine, melarsoprol and pentamidine for treating sleeping sickness.
- USAID: The US federal government agency will continue support to over 20 countries and the U.S. Congress had appropriated $89 million to USAID.
- World Bank: An international financial institution will implement the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control to completely control river blindness.
Endorsement of the declaration is increasing and there are altogether 71 endorsing organisations, including NGOs, academic institutes and companies. The governments of Brazil, Tanzania, Bangladesh and other NTD-endemic countries had announced implementation the programme. As of January 2013, 40 countries have announced national multi-year integrated plans.
- Crompton DWT (editor) (2012). Accelerating Work to Overcome the Global Impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases – A Roadmap for Implementation. Geneva: WHO Press, World Health Organization.
- WHO (3 February 2012). "WHO roadmap inspires unprecedented support to defeat neglected tropical diseases". who.int. World Health Organization, Geneva. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- The Pharma Letter (31 January 2012). "Research-based pharma pledges on neglected tropical diseases". thepharmaletter.com. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (30 January 2012). "Private and Public Partners Unite to Combat 10 Neglected Tropical Diseases by 2020". gatesfoundation.org. Press Room, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- Uniting to Combat NTDs (2012). "Endorsements (endorsing organizations)". unitingtocombatntds.org. Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases. Retrieved 2013-05-30.
- MalariaConsortium (17 January 2013). "The London Declaration on NTDs: One Year On". malariaconsortium.org. MalariaConsortium. Retrieved 2013-05-30.