The Bayer HealthCare and Sleeping Sickness

To help combat the Chagas disease and the African sleeping sickness, Bayer has agreed to provide its active ingredient called suramin and nifurtimox to the World Health Organization free of charge.

The Bayer HealthCare and Sleeping Sickness

Human African trypanosomiasis, or the sleeping sickness, is a vector-borne parasitic disease. It is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma. They are transmitted to humans by tsetse fly bites which have acquired their infection from human beings or from animals harbouring the human pathogenic parasites.

In 2002, Bayer HealthCare agreed to supply - at no cost and for an initial five-year period - as much of the sleeping sickness medicine Germanin® (suramin) as the WHO determines is needed to eliminate the disease. The initial donation contained 50,000 ampoules.

To treat Chagas disease, Bayer supplies the WHO with a drug containing an active ingredient called nifurtimox. Being the only manufacturer of nifurtimox, Bayer guarantees its availability by support the WHO with drugs, financial assistance for logistics and distribution. In 2011 the agreement was renewed, doubling the number of tablets provided to 1 million per year. Above that, Bayer HealthCare is giving access to selected substances to third parties, including DNDi, out of its compound libraries to find new treatments for NTDs. Futhermore, Bayer also is in favor of supporting an “Integrated Sleeping Sickness Initiative” supported by a broad base of institutions and covering all aspects of the disease from infection, diagnosis and therapy to prevention.


  • Bayer

    Goods Supplier
    Germany | Staff size: 10,000+

    Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the fields of health care, agriculture and high-tech materials. Founded in 1863, the Group employs about 112,000 people worldwide. As an...

  • World Health Organization (WHO)

    Funding Agencies
    Staff size: 5001-10,000

    WHO (World Health Organisation) is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters,...

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Key Information

LocationWorldwide, Argentina, Zambia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Uganda, Sudan, South Africa, Peru, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Malawi, Kenya, Honduras, Gabon, French Guiana, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile, Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Brazil, Bolivia
  • Start Date 2002