Today on World Sight Day, 25 years after Merck started the MECTIZAN® Donation Program (MDP), the company celebrates with partners important progress in the elimination of river blindness, one of the leading causes of preventable blindness worldwide. In October 1987, Merck made the decision to donate the medication MECTIZAN for the treatment of river blindness (onchocerciasis) – as much as needed, for as long as needed – to eliminate the disease as a public health problem. MDP efforts are focused in Africa, Latin America and Yemen, where river blindness is endemic. In 1998, Merck expanded the MDP to include the elimination of lymphatic filariasis (LF), in African countries and Yemen where it co-exists with river blindness. World leaders come together to discuss the role of MDP in establishing a platform for disease control in a landmark event titled: 'Disease Elimination in the 21st Century.'