Mectizan distribution

1975 Dr. William Campbell of Merck Research Laboratories suggests the use of Mectizan (ivermectin) against onchocerciasis (river blindness) in humans.
1987 Merck CEO Roy Vagelos announces the company's commitment to donate Mectizan to treat river blindness for as long as needed;  the Mectizan Donation Program (MDP) and the Mectizan Expert Committee are formed and a secretariat is established at the Task Force for Global Health to provide medical, technical and administrative oversight of Mectizan donation.
1991 Merck, the MDP, the World Health Organization (WHO), and NGO partners establish the Non-Governmental Development Organization (NGDO) Coordination Group for Onchocerciasis Control. NGDOs played a critical role in getting Mectizan distributed through their work with ministries of health, their expertise in program management, and the provision of funding for program implementation.
1993 The Onchocerciasis Elimination Program for the Americas (OEPA), formed by the River Blindness Foundation and currently sponsored by the Carter Center, brings together the ministries of health of 6 countries in the Americas affected by onchocerciasis.
1995  The WHO and World Bank partner to create the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC), providing financial support and coordination of disease control efforts in 19 African countries.
1998 Merck expands the MDP to include Mectizan for the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF) in African countries and Yemen where the disease overlaps with onchocerciasis. This begins a partnership between Merck and GSK through their donation of albendazole for LF elimination, which would be distributed with Mectizan.     
2002 Merck and MDP celebrate the 250 millionth treatment of Mectizan in Bombani, Tanzania.
2007 Colombia stops treatment with Mectizan and becomes the first country to begin the 3-year post-treatment surveillance phase. 
2008 The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) passes a resolution calling for the interruption of transmission of river blindness in the Americas by the year 2012. 
2008 The WHO confirms the potential for river blindness elimination in some parts of Africa. 
2009 Togo conducts the last round of mass treatment for lymphatic filariasis
2010  Ecuador is the 2nd country to stop treatment with Mectizan and begin the post-treatment surveillance phase.
2011 Colombia becomes the first country to apply for WHO certification for the elimination of onchocerciasis transmission, after suspending treatment with Mectizan in 2007.
2011 More than 1 billion treatments have been approved cumulatively by the Mectizan Donation Program for the treatment of onchocerciasis.
2011 As of the end of 2011, 140 million treatments annually were being approved for onchocerciasis and 130 million for lymphatic filariasis.
2011 Yemen conducts the last round of mass treatment for lymphatic filariasis
2012 The Mectizan Donation Program celebrates 25 years of partnerships and progress toward the elimination of onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.