The GeneXpert machine has been installed in the laboratory at Kerema General Hospital to help speed up diagnosis of TB patients. Photograph by Aris Messinis
Letter |

Open Letter: Response: Time to Lower the Price of Xpert Cartridges to US$5

Report cover image
Photograph by Aris Messinis

Cepheid's GeneXpert system has revolutionised rapid, accurate testing for the diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) since entering the market in 2010, and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends Xpert MTB/RIF and Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra as the initial test for diagnosing TB.

Yet in large part due to the high price of Xpert cartridges, most high TB-burden countries have not sufficiently scaled up Xpert as the initial TB diagnostic test.

Instead, they continue to rely on the significantly less accurate, but more affordable method of sputum smear microscopy, leading to gaps in TB diagnosis and rapid linkage to effective treatment.

In order to improve the scale-up of Xpert tests to help properly diagnose more people the TB, as well as other deadly gaps in testing, we call for Cepheid to reduce the price of its Xpert and Xpert Ultra cartridges to US$5, inclusive of service and maintenance.

In October 2019, MSF and other organizations sent a letter with this call to Cepheid. Cepheid responded unsatisfactorily, and MSF and others sent the following response letter in January 2020.