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Keywords:

  • MDR-TB;
  • partnerships;
  • access to drugs;
  • tuberculosis

Summary

Public–private partnerships have become central to efforts to combat infectious diseases. The characteristics of specific partnerships, their governance structures, and their ability to effectively address the issues for which they are developed are being clarified as experience is gained. In an attempt to promote access to and rational use of second-line anti-tuberculosis (TB) drugs for the treatment of multidrug-resistant TB, a unique partnership known as the Green Light Committee (GLC) was established by the World Health Organization. This partnership relies on five categories of actors to achieve its goal: academic institutions, civil society organizations, bilateral donors, governments of resource-limited countries, and a specialized United Nations agency. While the for-profit private sector is involved in terms of supplying concessionally priced drugs it is excluded from decision-making. The effectiveness of the partnership emerges from its review process, flexibility to modify its modus operandi to overcome obstacles, independence from the commercial sector, and its ability to link access, rational use, technical assistance, and policy development. The GLC mechanism may be useful in the development of other partnerships needed in the rational allocation of resources and tools for combating additional infectious diseases.