Antimicrobial resistance, and specifically multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), is one of the world’s most serious public health threats. Although there has been a decline in TB incidence and mortality overall in the past 15 years, MDR-TB threatens to erode these gains. Globally, an estimated 480,000 people develop and 190,000 people die from MDR-TB every year.1
The good news is that many government, not-for-profit and private sector organizations are recognizing the need to thwart this spread of MDR-TB and are implementing local and global strategies to intensify the fight against TB. One of these is the U.S Government’s recent National Action Plan for combatting MDR-TB, a bold and important step forward by the White House.
I had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of this Plan in the White House in January. It was great to see so many public and private stakeholders discuss and challenge each other on what is required to meet the global targets set out by both the White House and the World Health Organization (HWHO) End-TB Strategy – to reduce TB deaths by 95% by 2035, and cut new cases by 90%.2
The private sector has an important role to play in meeting these targets. Johnson & Johnson is deeply committed to addressing critical global health challenges. To strengthen the public-private alliance in support of the Plan, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have entered into a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) which will widen the scope of our engagement in the fight against MDR-TB.
With this new MoU, Janssen commits to expanding patient access to novel MDR-TB therapies, expanding upon our current engagements and providing incremental funding to our program partners to the value of $15-20M over the next three years.
This builds on our existing collaboration with USAID – the Bedaquiline Donation Program under which we are donating 30,000 courses of anti-MDR-TB treatment – SIRTURO® (bedaquiline) – for use in low- and middle income countries across the globe.
We are proud of our ongoing partnership with USAID, which along with our recent collaborations with the Union, TB Alliance and FIND demonstrate our deep commitment to eliminate deaths from MDR-TB and XDR-TB and improve public health for individuals, families and communities worldwide.
But we also know that we can’t rest on our laurels. We will continue to collaborate with the TB community to modernize TB care, ensuring a continuum of access to treatments for patients with MDR-TB.
Adrian Thomas is Vice President of Global Market Access, Commercial Strategy Operations and Global Public Health at Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. Adrian is based in the United States and has functional responsibility for Health Economics, Pharmaceutical Global Pricing, Patient Reported Outcomes, Global Medical Affairs, Public Health & Access Policy and Strategic Analytics & Commercial Insights. Adrian has held numerous roles including Global Head of Benefit Risk Management and Chief Safety Officer for the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, Global Safety Officer for biologics and Head of Safety Surveillance & Epidemiology.