Johnson & Johnson Announces Intention to Extend Longstanding VERMOX® Donation Program through 2030 to Tackle Intestinal Worms and Help Children in Marginalized Communities Thrive
New Brunswick, New Jersey (January 30, 2024) – Johnson & Johnson (the Company) is proud to commit to an extension of its global product donations of VERMOX® Chewable (mebendazole chewable 500mg tablets), the Company’s intestinal worms treatment, through 2030. The new five-year expanded commitment, announced on World Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Day, will ensure that up to one billion doses of the medicine, or up to 200 million doses per year, are available to treat children and women of reproductive age in endemic countries.
To date, J&J’s mebendazole donation program has made available over 2.4 billion doses of medicine in more than 60 countries. These drug donations, alongside the collective efforts of the global health community, have helped reduce the number of children requiring treatment by over 160 million since 2018.1 Importantly, 31 countries no longer require preventive therapy with medicines like mebendazole due to the ongoing reduction in prevalence of intestinal worms in the population. This gives more children, who are particularly vulnerable to these debilitating parasitic infections, the opportunity to grow and thrive.
Launched in 2006, the mebendazole donation program drives progress toward the WHO’s 2030 NTD roadmap targets, aiming to control, eliminate or eradicate NTDs. In parallel with data-driven systems strengthening measures, the extended donation will help to enable sustainable, country-led programs, a critical step towards eliminating intestinal worms as a public health concern.
“Intestinal worms disproportionately impact communities that have been most marginalized and can exacerbate existing inequities,” said Howard Reid, Global Head, Global Health Equity at Johnson & Johnson. “In the past 18 years, we’ve seen the role our medicine can play in greatly reducing the burden of intestinal worms. In making this commitment through 2030 and continuing to collaborate with the NTD community, we believe that we can help close the gap between communities and the care they deserve to help more countries control and end endemic case levels.”
To maximize the impact of its medicine, J&J supports data-driven approaches to more effectively and efficiently deliver to the communities that need it most, utilizing disease prevalence surveys and geospatial mapping. In Bangladesh, for example, this effort has resulted in a reduction in medicine need by half, enabling the medicine to be reallocated to other regions of greater need. Additionally, J&J is continuing to collaborate across sectors to support the training of community health workers, strengthen supply chains and more, which together can help bolster the long-term sustainability of drug donation programs and enable greater country ownership.
Johnson & Johnson’s Commitment to NTDs
Intestinal worms, or soil-transmitted helminths (STH), are the most widespread NTD, with more than 1.5 billion people infected worldwide and children and women of reproductive age facing the highest risk.2 Infection can cause malnutrition, delayed physical growth and impaired cognitive development in children and can cause serious complications or even be fatal for pregnant women.3
J&J has a nearly 20-year legacy working to accelerate the fight against NTDs, a group of 21 communicable, often-debilitating conditions that together impact more than one billion people worldwide.4 In 2022, the Company joined with the global community to reaffirm its commitment by endorsing the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases, pledging to continue the mebendazole donation program and to advance novel R&D programs to discover new medicines needed to beat dengue and leprosy.
To learn more about Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to NTDs, visit JNJ.com/NTDs.
Cautions Concerning Forward-Looking Statements This statement contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding soil-transmitted helminths, dengue fever and neglected tropical diseases. 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 Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc. 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 1, 2023, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in Johnson & Johnson’s subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other 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 Johnson & Johnson Services. Inc. And/or Johnson & Johnson undertake to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.
© Johnson & Johnson, 2024. All rights reserved.
1 World Health Organization. Weekly Epidemiological Record, 2023, vol. 98, 51 [full issue]. https://iris.who.int/handle/10665/375274?search-result=true&query=&scope=&filtertype_0=relationserie&filter_relational_operator_0=contains&filter_0=Weekly+Epidemiological+Record&rpp=10&sort_by=dc.date.issued_dt&order=desc
2 World Health Organization. Soil-Transmitted Helminths, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/soil-transmitted-helminth-infections.
3 World Health Organization. Ending the neglect to attain the sustainable development goals: a rationale for continued investment in tackling neglected tropical diseases 2021–2030 https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240052932.
4 World Health Organization. Neglected Tropical Diseases. https://www.who.int/health-topics/neglected-tropical-diseases#tab=tab_1.