Children Without Worms (CWW) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) recently announced their formal partnership. Now, with commitments for donations from GSK and CWW founder Johnson & Johnson, a combined 600 million doses of deworming medications will be available each year to treat school-age children around the world who are at risk for soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection. Plus, at the London Declaration on NTDs in late January, both companies pledged to extend these commitments through 2020.
Children Without Worms (CWW) is pleased to formally announce our partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in this issue of the Quarterly Dose. GSK has joined CWW founder Johnson & Johnson (J&J) in a global commitment to provide a combined 600 million doses of deworming medication to treat school-age children at risk of soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infection around the world.
In 2010, J&J quadrupled its donation of mebendazole by committing to provide 200 million doses annually for the treatment of school-age children through 2015. Later in 2010, GSK announced an extension of its ongoing donation of albendazole for lymphatic filariasis to include an additional 400 million doses to treat STH infection in school-age children. A formal partnership agreement between the WHO and GSK was signed in 2011. Then on January 30, 2012 at the London Declaration on NTDs both companies extended these commitments for an additional five years, pledging together to provide treatments for STH in school-age children through the year 2020.
“Our shared vision is to ensure that all school-age children at risk of STH are reached by either albendazole donated by GSK or mebendazole donated by J&J,” says Andy Wright, GSK’s Director of Disease Programs, Global Community Partnerships. “In order to achieve that vision, GSK and J&J must coordinate our efforts. One of the principles underlying GSK’s commitment to donating albendazole for STH treatment is to build on existing relationships, partnerships, and infrastructures to strengthen the global STH initiative. CWW is in the position to effectively coordinate the donations between the two companies and utilize experience gained from supporting J&J’s donation of mebendazole over the past five years.”
“This is a unique situation in that we have two global pharmaceutical companies donating two complementary medicines to treat a single set of diseases,” says Bill Lin, Director of Corporate Contributions at J&J. “Collaboration like this demonstrates the commitments these companies have to making a difference in children’s lives around the world.”
GSK and J&J are also looking to CWW to provide assistance and oversight to global deworming efforts. CWW can assist in expanding the capacity of countries to absorb the donations by providing technical and operational assistance. CWW can also work across the many partners and organizations in the STH community to coordinate efforts.
In addition to continued funding from J&J, CWW will receive financial support from GSK.
“The combined donations from GSK and J&J support the development of a global STH control initiative that can achieve the World Health Assembly’s goal of providing deworming treatment to at least 75 percent of at-risk school-age children each year,” says Mr. Wright. “Along with the WHO, the pharmaceutical companies, NGOs, and our global partners in STH control, CWW will have a key role to play in achieving this goal.”