NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., January 27, 2022 – In advance of World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day on January 30, Johnson & Johnson is pleased to announce it has now donated a total of more than 2 billion doses of mebendazole, its medicine to treat intestinal worm infections, to people in need in more than 50 resource-limited countries worldwide. This marks the latest achievement in Johnson & Johnson’s longstanding donation program aimed at helping children, who are especially vulnerable to intestinal worms, live healthier lives.
“More than fifteen years ago, Johnson & Johnson committed to address the threat of intestinal worms, a significant global health challenge that is particularly damaging to the health, development and well-being of children. Since then, our donated medicine has helped countless children around the world grow, play and pursue bright, healthy futures,” said Martin Fitchet, M.D., Global Head, Global Public Health at Johnson & Johnson. “The reach and the impact of this program is a testament to the power of enduring commitment and unprecedented collaboration across sectors, and shows that together, we can tackle the most significant challenges in global health.”
NTDs are a group of 20 communicable, often-debilitating conditions that affect more than 1.7 billion people in nearly 150 countries around the world and disproportionately impact the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.
Intestinal worm, or soil-transmitted helminths (STH), infections are the most widespread of these diseases and are common in areas without adequate access to clean water and sanitation. Despite being treatable, intestinal worms infect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, including more than 800 million children. Without treatment, infection can result in malnutrition, delayed physical growth and impaired cognitive development and often impacts children’s ability to go to school.
Johnson & Johnson launched its donation program in 2006 with a pledge to donate 50 million doses of mebendazole, developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, each year to vulnerable communities in high-burden countries. In 2012, the Company quadrupled its commitment, pledging to donate 200 million doses annually as part of the London Declaration on NTDs, an unprecedented public-private effort involving the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 12 other pharmaceutical companies, aimed at reducing the global burden of NTDs.
In 2019, Johnson & Johnson extended its commitment through 2025, and last year, fully transitioned the donation program to the chewable mebendazole tablet, which can be easily administered to children as young as one year.
The Company’s efforts to combat intestinal worms are not limited to donating its medicine. Johnson & Johnson is proud to collaborate with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany’s Global Health Institute and other organizations to improve monitoring and surveillance capacity for NTDs, particularly for intestinal worms and schistosomiasis (SCH), advancing data accuracy and decision-making for disease control programs.
Beyond Intestinal Worms: Johnson & Johnson’s Broader Commitment to NTDs
In addition to its work on intestinal worms, Johnson & Johnson is also working to address the threat of dengue and is exploring shortened and simplified treatment options for leprosy.
Dengue virus infects as many as 400 million people each year and is poised to threaten billions more as the global climate warms and the mosquito species that carries the virus spreads beyond its native regions. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there are currently no specific antiviral agents or treatments available for dengue.
In 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced the publication of preclinical data showing that an early-stage compound with a novel mechanism of action could potentially prevent and treat all serotypes of dengue. The program is moving into clinical development.
For more information on our efforts to combat NTDs, please visit jnj.com/neglected-tropical-diseases and follow us at @JNJGlobalHealth.
About Johnson & Johnson
At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity.
About the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
At Janssen, we’re creating a future where disease is a thing of the past. We’re the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, working tirelessly to make that future a reality for patients everywhere by fighting sickness with science, improving access with ingenuity and healing hopelessness with heart. We focus on areas of medicine where we can make the biggest difference: Cardiovascular & Metabolism, Immunology, Infectious Diseases & Vaccines, Neuroscience, Oncology and Pulmonary Hypertension.
Learn more at www.janssen.com. Follow us at @JanssenUS and @JanssenGlobal. Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V. is a part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including soil-transmitted helminths, dengue and leprosy. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of the Janssen Pharmaceutica N.V., any of the other Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies and/or Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: challenges and uncertainties inherent in product research and development, including the uncertainty of clinical success and of obtaining regulatory approvals; uncertainty of commercial success; manufacturing difficulties and delays; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; challenges to patents; product efficacy or safety concerns resulting in product recalls or regulatory action; changes in behavior and spending patterns of purchasers of health care products and services; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; and trends toward health care cost containment. A further list and descriptions of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 3, 2021, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in the company’s most recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q, and the company’s subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. None of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies nor Johnson & Johnson undertakes to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.