TBFighters Timeline and News Announcements

This page covers actions, milestones, and announcements related to TBFighter actions (related to Johnson & Johnson and Danaher/Cepheid) in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent. This is not meant to be a complete timeline of global health efforts to fight tuberculosis—you can find more information beyond this timeline from MSF's page on the Time for $5 campaign, the community-developed Tuberculosis Wiki, and our resources page (including glossary).

March 22 2024

MSF Access releases a petition calling on Danaher to lower all GeneXpert test cartridges to $5 in low- and middle-income countries. The following Tuesday, John Green releases a video supporting the petition and discussing his intention to engage in shareholder activism. TBFighters sign and amplify the petition, and continue to call, email, and post on social media, pushing for all test prices to be lowered to $5, not just MTB/RIF tests at $7.97.

Sign the petition

September 29 2023

Johnson & Johnson announces that they will not enforce secondary patents for bedaquiline in 134 low- and middle-income countries. This builds upon their previous agreement with the Stop TB Partnership (see July 13), which allowed for generic bedaquiline in 44 countries, and fulfills the initial ask of the #PatientsOverPatents campaign.

Read announcement

September 19 2023

Danaher announces that they will reduce the cost of the Xpert MTB/RIF cartridge to US$7.97, which they claim is the cost to produce, and agree to an external verification of the price on an annual basis. XDR cartridges are not included in this announcement. The Time for $5 Coalition and TBFighters continue to push for lower prices for XDR tests and tests for other diseases.

XDR cartridges and tests for other diseases are the current target of the TBFighters campaign.

Read announcement

September 12 2023

The first phase of the TBFighters campaign to reduce GeneXpert TB test cartridge prices goes live, starting with a video from John Green. People are encouraged to send emails, letters, phone calls, and post on social media about the Time for $5 campaign.

The next day Danaher shuts down their main phone lines, and both #PeopleOverProfits and #TimeFor5 trend on social media multiple times throughout the next week.

August 30 2023

John Green introduces Nerdfighteria to GeneXpert catridges and the MSF "Time for $5" campaign in the first of a series of livestreams.

Over the next 13 days Nerdfighteria groups get together to find an outstanding amount of information on Danaher, Cepheid, and the products they produce, and organize a cohesive plan to make the case for lower prices of Xpert MTB/RIF and MTB/XDR tests.

July 13 2023

The Stop TB Partnership and Global Drug Facility publicly announce that Johnson & Johnson has granted them a license to supply generic versions of bedaquiline in some low- and middle-income countries. The details of this agreement, including countries covered, are not released until later.

July 12 2023

Johnson & Johnson responds publicly to the #PeopleOverProfits campaign with a statement on Twitter that reads, in part: "It is false to suggest—as some recently have—that our patents are being used to prevent access to SIRTURO® (bedaquiline), our medicine for MDR-TB." Their statement touts J&J's work in developing and donating TB-related treatments, and admits that the lack of testing is the highest barrier to treatment.

TBFighters respond, in part, with the small impact that Johnson & Johnson's 600,000 courses of donated bedaquiline over 10 years has had on the 32 million people who died from TB during that time frame. "It is false to suggest—as some recently have—" becomes a meme and rallying cry for TBFighters.

July 11 2023

John Green announces an effort to ask Johnson & Johnson to allow their patents on bedaquiline to lapse without enforcing secondary patents, at least in countries that have a high tuberculosis burden or are considered low- to middle-income.

TBFighters flood Johnson & Johnson's phone lines, emails, and social media, telling them to adhere to their credo, which partially reads: "Our first responsibility is to the patients." This also marks the adoption of the #PeopleOverProfits hashtag and message by TBFighters and other groups involved in the Time For $5 campaign. The hashtag trends on several platforms over the next few days.

To help add more wins and milestones to this timeline, learn how you can take action now.