Time for $5: GeneXpert diagnostic tests

New Technical Brief with estimated cost of goods analysis from the MSF Access Campaign:
Time for $5: GeneXpert diagnostic tests

The GeneXpert diagnostic testing technology has revolutionised rapid, accurate diagnosis of tuberculosis (TB) since entering the market in 2010. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the Xpert MTB/RIF assays (standard and Ultra) as the initial test for all people with signs and symptoms of TB.

Yet, due to the high cost of the GeneXpert instrument and its assays, most high TB-burden countries are not able to scale up testing for all people who need diagnosis. Instead, TB care providers continue to rely on cheaper, less accurate sputum smear microscopy.

To scale up testing and close the gap in diagnosis for people with TB, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) calls on Cepheid to reduce the price of Xpert MTB/RIF (Ultra) cartridges to US$5, inclusive of service and maintenance.

In addition to TB, several other Xpert assays have been developed to tackle other challenging diseases, which have been added to Cepheid’s concessional pricing program for high burden developing countries (HBDC). These diseases include HIV, hepatitis B/C, human papillomavirus (HPV), and various sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomonas).

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.


Download detailed methodology and findings from the cost analyses conducted for MSF by Cambridge Consultants and referenced in the Time for $5 technical brief:

  • 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