Tuesday - November 19, 2019
Not intended for U.S. and UK Media - Neglected Tropical Diseases

Bayer expands collaboration with the World Health Organization to fight pork tapeworm infections as cause for epilepsy

5-year agreement on drug donation and financial support to treat infection with pork tapeworm T. solium (taeniasis) / Tissue infections in the brain caused by larvae of pork tapeworm / (neurocystercosis) are the most frequent cause of epilepsy in low- and middle-income countries / Control of taeniasis and neurocystercosis as cause of epilepsy in the focus of the new Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Roadmap 2021 - 2030 of the World Health Organization
Stefan Oelrich (left), Dr. Mwelecele Ntuli (right)

Berlin, November 19, 2019 – Bayer and the World Health Organization (WHO) now cooperate to combat taeniasis and neurocystercosis, the main preventable cause of epilepsy in developing countries.

“We need to prevent and control T. solium infections of humans and pigs to eliminate taeniasis,” said Dr Mwelecele Ntuli Malecela, Director, WHO Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases. “Our collaboration with Bayer will greatly strengthen our proposed integrated approach spanning veterinary and human health and environmental sectors.”

The intestinal infection caused by adult tapeworms T. solium is estimated to cause more than 28 000 deaths per year in the developing world, translating into 2.79 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). One DALY can be thought of as one lost year of “healthy” life. Taeniasis and cysticercosis have now been added to the list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) in the WHO NTD Roadmap 2030.

“Bayer is committed to patients suffering from Neglected Tropical Diseases,” said Stefan Oelrich, Member of the Board of Management of Bayer AG and President of its Pharmaceuticals Division. “The WHO and their goal to control and eliminate these diseases need our support to helping patients in the world’s poorest, most marginalized and most remote communities. As the manufacturer of two effective medicines for the treatment of taeniasis we feel obliged to support the new goal of WHO to better serve the patients suffering from this disease.”

While the adult tapeworm in the human intestine does not have major health impacts, humans can develop cysticercosis with tapeworm larvae (cysticerci) in the muscles, skin, eyes and the central nervous system, with possible devastating effects on health. When cysts develop in the brain, the condition is referred to as neurocysticercosis.

As with other neglected tropical diseases, infections with T. solium are entirely preventable using existing medicines and interventions. With praziquantel (“Biltricide”®) and niclosamide (“Yomesan”®) Bayer will provide two effective treatments, which are part of the latest WHO Model List of the Essential Medicines 2019 for the treatment of Taeniasis.

About Bayer and neglected tropical diseases
Together with other pharmaceutical companies, Bayer is committed to making an important contribution to combating NTDs (as described in the WHO Roadmap, the London Declaration on NTDs and Sustainability Goal #3). For over 15 years, the company has provided the WHO with two of active ingredients against Chagas and African sleeping sickness free of charge, along with financial support for distribution and logistics.

The mobile intervention teams successfully deployed by the WHO in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and supported by Bayer since 2013 to combat local outbreaks have made a significant contribution to reducing the burden of disease. This success has prompted Bayer to double its financial support for these teams by 2020, thereby promoting the training of personnel and the surveillance of areas at risk of infection.

Since 2018, Bayer has also increased its annual financial support to the WHO in the fight against Chagas disease. This helps national disease control programs aimed at effective disease transmission disruption, better patient care and targeted education campaigns. Bayer is also developing the active ingredient nifurtimox for the special needs of children with Chagas infection. Since 2014, Bayer and the non-profit organization Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative are collaborating to develop a new therapy for river blindness.

About Bayer
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to

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Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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Ulrike Schröder

Corporate Social Responsibility
Phone +49 30 468-192206