Cepheid and its parent company Danaher announced today that they are reducing the price of the Xpert MTB/RIF test for TB by 20 percent in high-TB-burden countries from US$9.98 to $7.97 per test.
This reduction is a significant step, considering the corporations have refused to reduce the price of this test for over ten years. While this is a major step, the corporations are not reducing the price of the Xpert MTB/XDR test that is used to diagnose the most severe form of TB, which will remain exorbitant at $14.90, nor are the tests for other diseases included in this reduction. MSF calls Cepheid and Danaher to work towards further price reductions of the other cartridges, so that more people can access tests that can save their lives.
The GeneXpert diagnostic testing technology produced by Cepheid has revolutionized TB testing since entering the market in 2010. However, because of the high prices that Cepheid has been charging for the GeneXpert tests, scaling up TB testing to all people who need it has remained a challenge and has forced many TB care providers to rely on cheaper but less sensitive testing using microscopes, a method developed in the 1800s. MSF analysis has estimated that it costs Cepheid less than $5 to manufacture one GeneXpert TB test, while Cepheid has been charging MSF and high-burden low- and middle-income countries double and triple that price per TB test for years. For the last ten years, the companies have refused to lower their TB test prices.