GeneXpert test cartridge being used to test a sample of suspected TB in MSF’s lab at Bangassou Hospital, Central African Republic, 2017.

Time for $5

The 'Time for $5' Campaign calls on US diagnostics corporation Cepheid, and its parent company Danaher, to drop the price of its lifesaving GeneXpert tests to US$5 a test, so that many more people can get fast, accurate disease diagnosis, and receive treatment right away.

The 'Time for $5' coalition is coordinated by MSF Access Campaign and Treatment Action Group (TAG), together with more than 150 civil society organizations working to improve access to GeneXpert instruments and tests.

Since 2019, we have been calling on Cepheid and Danaher to lower the price of Xpert tests to $5* per test for all diseases.

 * The $5 ask is based on publicly available evidence of Cepheid’s cost of production of Xpert tests. 

Time for $5 Campaign logo
Photo credit: Borja Ruiz Rodriguez/MSF
Time for $5 Campaign logo

UPDATE, 19 September 2023:

Thanks to your campaigning support, Danaher and Cepheid announced they will reduce the price of the main drug-resistant TB test (Xpert MTB/RIF) by 20% in high-TB-burden countries, from $9.98 to $7.97 per test. Although not the 50% reduction to $5 we have been calling for, this price drop is a significant step in the right direction, considering the corporations have refused to reduce the price of this critical test for over 10 years.

While a major step forward, the corporations are not reducing the price of the test for extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, which is the deadliest form of TB. The price of this test (Xpert MTB/XDR) remains exorbitant at $14.90. The corporations are also not reducing the test prices for other important diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, COVID, sexually transmitted infections, and Ebola, which range in price from ~$15 to $20 per single test cartridge. We continue to call on Danaher and Cepheid to work towards further price reductions of these other tests, so that many more people can be diagnosed and receive treatment quickly.


Campaign with us!  

Our medical teams on the ground see every day how high prices for diagnostic tests prevent people from getting a rapid and accurate diagnosis for their illness, which is the first step to them getting access to lifesaving treatment. 

US diagnostics company Cepheid, and its parent corporation Danaher, sell the GeneXpert test - a critical tool used for diagnosing life-threatening diseases like tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, COVID and Ebola. The GeneXpert test can save millions of lives - but the tests are too expensive for most countries where they are needed. 

Cepheid COVID-19 test price reduction protestPhotograph by Sophia Apostolia

This is outrageous because it costs Cepheid less than $5 to produce one test, but the company is charging countries double, 3x or 4x that price! Moreover, Cepheid has received more than $250 million of taxpayer money for research and development of the GeneXpert testing technology. This amounts to unethical profiteering by Cepheid. 

You can help us support this campaign and get the corporations to drop the price of the tests. You’ll be helping to save lives when you join us!  

Tweet/X at Danaher and Cepheid, calling on these corporations to put people before profits and continue to drop the prices of lifesaving tests. 


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Key publications & resources

Factsheet: “Time for $5” Campaign

September 2023
The GeneXpert diagnostic testing technology by the US corporation Cepheid has revolutionised rapid, accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB), the deadliest infectious disease in the world, as well as other diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis C and Ebola. MSF uses these tests routinely in medical programmes around the globe.

Read more

“Time for $5” Campaign: Questions and Answers

September 2023
Want to learn more about why we launched a campaign calling on diagnostics corporation Cepheid and its parent corporation Danaher to lower the price of lifesaving tests to US$5? Read our Q&A below.

Read more

Technical Brief- Time for $5: GeneXpert diagnostic tests

December 2019
This document provides evidence to support a reduction of pricing across all Cepheid’s HBDC concessionally priced assays to reach the people in need of testing for TB and other high-burden infectious diseases.

Read more

Annexes to the Technical Brief

Detailed methodology and data from the cost analyses conducted for MSF by Cambridge Consultants and referenced in the 'Time for $5' technical brief can be downloaded. 

2018 COGS analysis of Xpert MTB/RIF Ultra cartridges

2015 COGS analysis of Xpert HIV-1 Viral Load cartridges

2012 COGS analysis of Xpert MTB/RIF cartridges

Principles for Access to Multi-disease Molecular Diagnostics

August 2022
Following a roundtable discussion with funders, governments and other procurers, a set of principles has been developed to enable better outcomes to negotiations with diagnostic manufacturers.

Read more

Other Publications

Realizing Returns on U.S. Government Investments in GeneXpert Diagnostic Technologies

Advancing Access through Market Interventions: Lessons Learned from the GeneXpert Tuberculosis Test Buy-Down


June 2, 2022
Roundtable on Access to Multi-disease Molecular Diagnostics

April 3, 2022
Webinar on the price of Xpert tests for COVID-19, TB, HIV, HCV and other diseases

November 1, 2019
Protestors demand Cepheid halve the price of GeneXpert TB tests to US$5

Open letters to Cepheid

Public investments in the GeneXpert diagnostic technology

Impact on people