New six-month report flags growing number of medical product quality concerns relating to COVID-19

The Medicine Quality Research Group has published a six-month Medical Product Quality Report focused on COVID-19 today, using its Medicine Quality Monitoring Globe tool. New reports will be issued monthly from now on, following the first January - June publication.

Medics in clininc in PPE testing for COVID-19
Credit: World Bank Henisota Rafalia

Substandard and falsified (SF) medical products jeopardise national, regional and global attempts to improve access to effective health care because they lead to avoidable morbidity, waste financial resources and contribute to drug resistance. In the context of COVID-19, SF products undermine the global effort to tackle the pandemic.

With the recent emergence of COVID-19, there has been a growing number of reports of SF personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostic tests, medicines, and vaccines. In response to this, the Medicine Quality Research Group has started a system for comprehensively reporting on information in the public domain on SF COVID-19 medical product problems.

Reports will be curated monthly to aid regulators, health workers, policy makers and international organisations, across the global health spectrum, in their understanding of the issues SF medical products in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.    

The reports will collate information and reports in the public domain on the quality of medicinal products that are currently in use, or that are being trialled for COVID-19’s prevention or treatment. Reports on key subjects such as access, affordability or off-label use (unapproved use of approved drugs) for COVID-19 if they mention concerns about the quality of the products.

Data included in the report are from scientific literature, public alerts/warnings, and lay press. Most of the information was extracted from IDDO’s MQM Globe, a free-to-use online tool that maps news reports worldwide of SF medical products.

Between January 1 and June 30 this year, a total of 222 relevant articles were linked to SF COVID-19 medical products alerted through the MQM Globe database. These included six articles related to vaccines, 43 were linked to COVID-19 trial medicines, 60 to COVID-19 diagnostics and 140 to PPE including sanitisers.

With increasing numbers of reports in scientific literature and policy documents related to SF medical products for COVID-19, the Medicine Quality Research Group is also developing a Surveyor database and map for these, which will include past reports of SF medical products being newly developed and those being repurposed for COVID-19.

The Medicine Quality Research Group is a part of the Infectious Diseases Data Observatory (IDDO) and the Mahidol Oxford Research Unit (MORU) of the Centre for Tropical Medicine & Global Health, Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford.

Download the report here. To contact the Medicine Quality Research Group email