A semisynthetic antibiotic produced from Streptomyces mediterranei. It has a broad antibacterial spectrum, including activity against several forms of Mycobacterium. In susceptible organisms it inhibits DNA-dependent RNA polymerase activity by forming a stable complex with the enzyme. It thus suppresses the initiation of RNA synthesis. Rifampin is bactericidal, and acts on both intracellular and extracellular organisms.