Johnson & Johnson associate Janssen Therapeutics has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with US Agency for International Development (USAID) to expand access to anti-multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) compound.

Janssen Therapeutics will provide an estimated $30m worth of its anti-MDR-TB treatment, which includes 30,000 courses.

Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals worldwide chairman Dr Paul Stoffels said: "With nearly half a million people affected worldwide and approximately 210,000 losing their lives to this disease in 2013, we are engaging in pioneering partnerships with like-minded stakeholders invested in global public health.

"Collaborating with USAID improves access to potentially lifesaving medicines for people living with MDR-TB."

"Janssen Therapeutics will provide an estimated $30m worth of its anti-MDR-TB treatment, which includes 30,000 courses."

With the support of implementing partners, national TB programmes and Janssen, USAID will ensure responsible access and appropriate use of the treatment.

According to Johnson & Johnson, the commitment strengthens the company’s agreement with Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility to facilitate access to quality-assured medicines in 100 countries worldwide.

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USAID administrator Dr Rajiv Shah said: "USAID is pioneering a new model of development, one grounded in public-private partnerships that can unlock unprecedented resources and opportunities for the world’s most vulnerable people."

Johnson & Johnson also noted the ability to scale up appropriate use of treatment regimens remains very challenging due to weak health care infrastructures that typically exist in vulnerable countries, despite the development of new MDR-TB treatment options.

Image: Photomicrograph of a sputum sample containing Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Photo: courtesy of CDC / TimVickers.