Advocates urge Cepheid to take immediate action necessary to bring about affordable, equitable, and expanded access to GeneXpert TB testing.
On 28 February 2023, a coalition of civil society activists, public health leaders, and researchers acting in solidarity with communities affected by TB sent an open letter to Cepheid sharing information about the 1/4/6x24 Campaign and requesting Cepheid’s urgent contribution to the Campaign through actions necessary to improve equitable access to GeneXpert TB diagnostics.
The 1/4/6x24 Campaign’s name comes from its central demand: that countries and other duty bearers, including pharmaceutical and diagnostics companies, take action to improve access to the shortest available regimens recommended by the World Health Organization – one month or once-weekly for TB prevention, four months for drug-sensitive TB, and six months for drug-resistant TB — by the end of 2024. Stellar medical developments in the form of newer drugs and regimens have the potential to bridge the unmet medical needs of people with TB but improving access to these regimens depends on improving access to sensitive and specific molecular diagnostics for the detection of TB and drug resistance.
Despite repeated calls from the Time for $5 Coalition (here, here and here) for transparent and equitable pricing of GeneXpert tests and instruments and for reliable and sufficient service and maintenance, Cepheid has refused to adequately respond to these demands or to take action necessary to lower prices and improve access to GeneXpert testing in low- and middle-income countries.
In order to help achieve the goals of 1/4/6x24 Campaign, the signatories urged Cepheid to reconsider its approach to engaging civil society and the broader public, and to take urgent actions necessary to bring about affordable, equitable, and expanded access to GeneXpert TB testing. “Improving rates of rapid molecular testing and diagnosis of TB and drug-resistant TB is critically needed so that all people with TB can access the shortest-available regimens for TB prevention and treatment by the end of 2024. In the context of a rapidly evolving TB diagnostics landscape with increasing competition, we request that Cepheid play a leadership role among diagnostics companies by supporting the 1/4/6x24 Campaign…”
The signatories, which include members of the 1/4/6x24 Campaign Coalition and the Time for $5 Coalition, called on Cepheid to publicly announce before World TB Day, 24 March 2023, its commitment to the actions necessary to improve equitable access to GeneXpert TB diagnostics in support of the 1/4/6x24 Campaign. Taking these actions will demonstrate Cepheid’s commitment to its stated mission “to improve patient outcomes by enabling access to molecular diagnostic testing everywhere."
The advocates requested a response to the letter by 15 March 2023.
To read the full letter, click here.