Among my lifelong goals is to advance progress in new treatment options for patients living with the world’s most serious health threats. Antimicrobial resistance is responsible for many of them, especially in communities with limited resources and fragmented healthcare infrastructures. When resistance limits first- and second-line options, healthcare providers must opt for less desirable alternatives,1 which often lead to worsened patient outcomes.
Over many years of researching and learning, the complexities of infectious diseases have become clear to me. Despite the development of new treatments to address ever-expanding forms of antimicrobial resistance, the ability to scale up appropriate use of treatment regimens remains challenging.
According to the 2013 Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States report, approximately 250,000 antimicrobial infections each year require hospitalization, or are already affecting hospitalized patients, who also already have weakened immune systems.1 These infections should command our complete attention especially because the threat can reach us all – almost half of infections occur in people younger than 65, and more than 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 and older.1
Given the hardships of combating antimicrobial resistance, we are proud to announce our pharmaceutical company, Janssen, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to help address the global health threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Under the MOU, USAID will work with their partners and Janssen to ensure responsible access and appropriate use of a donated treatment to combat the emergence of antibiotic-resistant disease.
This donation also follows in line with our mission at Johnson & Johnson Global Public Health (GPH), where we aim to cultivate and implement innovative strategies that improve access to medicines in developing and emerging markets, foster collaboration with key global health partners such as USAID and support public health policies to maximize global access to healthcare.
I am confident that our work with USAID will help tackle existing barriers to scaling up patient access in particular disease spaces, in addition to acting as a first step in a broader collaborative effort to spur innovations addressing neglected diseases. The donation program will also contribute to strengthening health systems and prioritizing the responsible use of new treatment options around the world.
We at Janssen believe we have a responsibility to address today’s greatest public health challenges by collaborating with the most innovative minds and organizations in science to evaluate new treatments for infectious diseases. Our new partnership with USAID represents specific action we are taking to positively impact people around the world whose lives depend on innovative solutions for the world’s most serious diseases.
 CDC. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report-2013/pdf/ar-threats-2013-508.pdf#page=5. Accessed November 2014.
Dr. Paul Stoffels, M.D., is Chief Scientific Officer, and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson. In this role, he works with R&D leaders across Johnson & Johnson to set the enterprise-wide innovation agenda and is a member of the Johnson & Johnson Executive Committee. He began his career as a physician in Africa, focusing on HIV and tropical diseases research. Paul chairs the Johnson & Johnson R&D Management Committee and provides oversight to the Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC) and the Johnson & Johnson innovation centers, with the goal of catalyzing innovative science and technology. .content