Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that most often affects the lungs caused by the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis bacteria has killed almost a billion people in the last 200 years. According to the WHO, an estimated number of 10.6 million people of all countries and age groups fell ill with this disease in the year 2021 and was the second leading infectious killer after COVID – 19 above HIV and AIDS.(source: [WHO](https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tuberculosis))
TB is curable and has been so for a long time. [DOTS](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directly_observed_treatment%2C_short-course) is a cost-effective way to control the spread of and cure TB. A process within DOTS is the detection test for TB. The process used for the detection is Sputum smear microscopy process where a sample of the suspected patient is taken and examined under the microscope whether one has TB or not. This process only accounts for TB detection. It cannot be used to find out how much it has progressed or which type of TB one is infected with. The good news is that we do have better ways of detecting TB called the Gene Xpert Machine which detects TB in so many effective ways and also detect which available drugs work for the TB present in the person. It also tests for diseases like HIV and COVID and the company that has made these tests possible cannot be thanked enough.
The bad news is that the company that makes the machines and the tests runs its business as a razor-blade business model, where (say) razors/ the gene expert machines are not that expensive, but the units that are required to run it are i.e. the blades/ the cartridges that are required for the test are expensive. The company that made the machine [Cepheid](https://www.cepheid.com/), owned by a larger company [Danaher](https://www.danaher.com/) is running this business model and sells the cartridges for 10$ and 15$ which is almost 3-5 times the cost required to make it.The expensive cost of these medicines make it hard for people to get tested easily. In the context of Nepal, the country has announced to become TB free in a few upcoming years. In places where these treatments are not easily accessible and hard to afford, prices being unreasonably high when it should not be does not help at all. It results in the death of people, when it should not have been so.
We, as a community, have a power to fight against such injustices. While I am not ignoring our own problems, the problems within our country, we could at least help by doing a part and sharing what is going on. Emailing the company regarding the problems with their business model at [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])/ would also be a great help.
To the people who reached this point, this post was highly influenced by this (https://youtu.be/tSC06P9A5W4) here. I highly recommend watching the video which also contains various ways to contact either of the both companies mentioned above. I hope to have conveyed the message from the video. Also, here’s another similar (https://youtu.be/tMhgw5SW0h4) on progress on availability of the drug Bedaquiline fumarate (Sirturo™) used in the treatment of TB.
Thank you for your time.
Edit: The above campaign is supported by various organizations such as [Doctors w/o Borders](https://twitter.com/MSF_USA) and [PIH(Partners In Health)](https://twitter.com/PIH), author [John Green](https://twitter.com/johngreen) and communities like Nerdfighteria and [TBfighters](https://tbfighters.org/).
Here are some hashtags on twitter related to the camp:
[timefor5](https://twitter.com/hashtag/timefor5) [PeopleOverProfits](https://twitter.com/hashtag/PeopleOverProfits) [PatientsnotProfits](https://twitter.com/hashtag/PatientsNotProfits)