Johnson & Johnson Expands Efforts to Help End Tuberculosis in India

In advance of the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, Johnson & Johnson announces series of collaborations to improve health outcomes for TB patients

HYDERABAD, India, Oct. 31, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson & Johnson today announced the expansion of its tuberculosis (TB) program in India in advance of the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health, taking place in Hyderabad. Through a series of new collaborations with several multilateral and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the Government of India, the company aims to help support the country’s efforts to end TB by 2025, as outlined in its National Strategic Plan for TB Elimination.

A major part of Johnson & Johnson’s comprehensive 10-year initiative to achieve a world without TB, this expanded India program aims to broaden appropriate access to treatment for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), improve detection of undiagnosed cases, build critical health systems capacity, and raise awareness about TB at the community level. Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson committed to invest $500 million over the next four years to help end the TB and HIV epidemics.

“TB is a devastating disease that needlessly claims nearly half a million lives in India every year,” says Sarthak Ranade, Managing Director, Janssen India, Johnson & Johnson Private Limited. “Fortunately, we have better tools today than ever before, which offer new hope to patients, families and communities affected by TB. What is needed now – and urgently – is coordinated action. This is why we are proud to collaborate with our partners to comprehensively address the challenges presented by TB and DR-TB.”

TB is the world’s deadliest infectious disease and one of the leading causes of mortality associated with Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR). India bears the highest burden, accounting for more than a quarter of all new TB cases worldwide. Growing resistance to the most commonly used drugs compounds this public health challenge, with an estimated 130,000 new cases of DR-TB reported in India in 2018. Improvements in diagnosis and treatment rates are needed to help control the TB epidemic: in 2018, an estimated one in three people with TB were not identified or diagnosed, and one in four were not connected to treatment.

Johnson & Johnson’s Expanded TB Program in India includes:

Improving diagnosis rates and linkage to care

  • A new effort with The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), in collaboration with India’s Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP), will provide technical assistance to build capacity and establish new TB culture and drug-susceptibility testing facilities in at least seven sites across India – with a focus on the high-burden TB states of Maharashtra, Himanchal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. This will help accelerate efforts to reach the WHO-recommended number of facilities in the country.
  • Expanded funding for state governments and NGOs to enhance rates of early TB diagnosis. To date, J&J funding has enabled the provision of nearly 50,000 X-ray tests, approximately 32,000 molecular tests, and 4,600 pre-evaluation tests free-of-charge. Approximately 8,000 new TB cases and 1,000 DR-TB cases have been detected to date.
  • Pilot initiative with TB Alert India to expand TB-control efforts in the private sector, where most patients initially seek care. This pilot project aims to strengthen the referral of patients from the private to public health system for appropriate and timely diagnosis and treatment. The model involves deployment of field staff, a dedicated call center and an online treatment adherence platform, Connect for LifeTM, developed by Johnson & Johnson to help track and support patients throughout their treatment.

Training healthcare workers to improve standards of care

  • A unique collaboration with the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union) South-East Asia office, to support efforts aimed at building capacity of public sector healthcare providers for the effective management of TB and DR-TB. Through this project, Johnson & Johnson will support capacity building workshops & trainings and the development of training materials to improve the understanding of India’s guidelines on programmatic management of DR-TB among clinicians and healthcare workers in seven high-burden states.
  • Ongoing efforts to elevate the standard of care for DR-TB management in the country, which to date have supported the training of more than 15,000 healthcare professionals across ten high-burden states, with plans to train an additional 5,000 healthcare professionals by 2020.

Raising awareness of signs and symptoms of tuberculosis

  • Launch of a mass awareness and behavior-change campaign ‘MTV Nishedh’, in partnership with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Launched in September 2019, the campaign aims to place a spotlight on TB as an urgent public health issue, while at the same time helping to reduce the social stigma associated with the disease in order to prevent TB transmission and encourage patients to seek treatment.
  • Launch of a Metro Awareness project in Hyderabad in collaboration with local government and TB Alert India, that aims to increase awareness of TB through visual campaigns in 45 metro trains.
  • In addition to this, Johnson & Johnson has supported community awareness campaigns that involved 24,000 auto-rickshaws, 21,000 buses, 200 taxis, 11 trains, 7 radio stations, 112 theatre screens and 590 street plays.

“Johnson & Johnson’s experience in introducing a new TB medicine shows that medicines alone are not enough to tackle AMR,” says Dr Vandita Gupta, Franchise Head, Infectious Diseases, Janssen India, Johnson & Johnson Private Limited. “We must strengthen our public health systems, train more health workers on the appropriate management of TB and DR-TB, raise community awareness, and ensure patients are diagnosed in a timely way and then successfully treated. The programs announced today form part of our broad commitment to helping India reach its ambitious goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2025.”

For the past four years, Johnson & Johnson has worked with the government of India to help scale up access to bedaquiline, including by providing 22,000 courses free-of-charge as part of a donation program, coordinated in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).  

About Johnson & Johnson’s Commitment to TB

Johnson & Johnson has been a committed partner in the fight against TB for more than two decades. When bedaquiline received its initial accelerated approval by the U.S. FDA in 2012 to treat MDR-TB in adults, as part of combination therapy, it was the first targeted TB medicine with a novel mechanism of action in more than 40 years. Today, it is approved for use in 61 countries, with regulatory pathways identified for all United Nations (UN) Member States. In total, over 160,000 courses of bedaquiline have been delivered to 133 countries, including the 30 countries with the highest burdens of MDR-TB.

Building on this commitment, in September 2018, Johnson & Johnson announced a comprehensive 10-year initiative in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target of ending the TB pandemic by 2030. With the goal of saving an estimated 1.8 million lives and preventing 12 million new TB infections in the next decade, Johnson & Johnson will work with partners to improve detection of undiagnosed TB cases, broaden access to bedaquiline for MDR-TB, and accelerate research & development (R&D) to discover next-generation TB treatments.

Learn more about our work on TB at www.jnj.com/TB.

About Johnson & Johnson

At Johnson & Johnson, we believe good health is the foundation of vibrant lives, thriving communities and forward progress. That’s why for more than 130 years, we have aimed to keep people well at every age and every stage of life. Today, as the world’s largest and most broadly-based healthcare company, we are committed to using our reach and size for good. We strive to improve access and affordability, create healthier communities, and put a healthy mind, body and environment within reach of everyone, everywhere. We are blending our heart, science and ingenuity to profoundly change the trajectory of health for humanity. Learn more at www.jnj.com. Follow us at @jnjglobalhealth.

Cautions Concerning Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, regarding the expansion of its tuberculosis (TB) program in India through a series of new collaborations with several multilateral and non-governmental organizations, as well as the Government of India. The reader is cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or known or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and/or Johnson & Johnson. Risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to: the potential that the expected benefits and opportunities related to the collaboration may not be realized or may take longer to realize than expected; challenges inherent in new product development, including the uncertainty of clinical success, obtaining regulatory approvals and of the overall timeline for the availability of a potential vaccine against TB; competition, including technological advances, new products and patents attained by competitors; uncertainty of commercial success for new products; the ability of the company to successfully execute strategic plans; impact of business combinations; manufacturing difficulties and delays; challenges to patents; changes in behavior and spending patterns or financial distress of purchasers of health care products and services; changes to applicable laws and regulations, including global health care reforms; trends toward health care cost containment and the uncertainty of the level of demand for a vaccine against TB. A further list and descriptions of these risks, uncertainties and other factors can be found in Johnson & Johnson’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2018, including in the sections captioned “Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and “Item 1A. Risk Factors,” and in the company’s most recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and the company’s subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of these filings are available online at www.sec.gov, www.jnj.com or on request from Johnson & Johnson. Neither the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies nor Johnson & Johnson undertakes to update any forward-looking statement as a result of new information or future events or developments.

Media Contact:
Joshina Kapoor
jkapoor2@its.jnj.com  
+91-9820711080
Johnson & Johnson

Jessica Freifeld
+1-917-520-1198
jfreifel@its.jnj.com

 

Your thoughts, please