Yesterday, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (GAC), USAID, UNITAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an agreement that will reduce the price of Xpert MTB/RIF cartridges from $16.86 to $9.98 with funds provided through this partnership. And the price will not increase until 2022. Cepheild’s GeneXpert is a molecular diagnostic system that can detect TB disease in persons co-infected with HIV and in individuals resistant to one of the primary TB treatment drugs– rifampicin– in less than two hours. The World Health Organization has endorsed the use of the product but the high cost of the cartridges has slowed their introduction and use in low and middle income countries.
This price reduction is expected to facilitate scale up of GeneXpert in countries with high burdens of TB/HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis with the hope of increasing earlier diagnosis of TB disease including MDR-TB and facilitating earlier access to treatment, with the aim of decreasing TB transmission and TB-related mortality.