Oxford Statement published in Lancet Global Health

Author: Marya Lieberman

Every person has the right to receive safe, quality medical products – but all too often, this isn’t the case.

  • Poor-quality medical products (including medicines, vaccines, biologics and diagnostics) fall into two categories: substandard or falsified. Both negate the benefits of modern health care and put patients at risk.
    • Substandard products fail to meet quality standards or specifications. Falsified products deliberately or fraudulently misrepresent their identity, composition or source.
  • While substandard and falsified medical products are a global problem, they have the greatest impact on the poorest and most vulnerable populations.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that at least one in 10 medicines in low- and middle-income countries is poor-quality.
    • Less than a third of governments can effectively regulate medical products in their markets.
    • Substandard and falsified medicines cost the world between US $10-200 billion every year. This is money that could be better spent training health workers, expanding access to health care and strengthening regulatory systems.
  • This issue impacts nearly all of the world’s health priorities. From eliminating infectious diseases, to achieving universal health coverage, public health efforts depend on medical products being safe and effective when they reach patients.

To address this challenge, more than 150 researchers, advocates and policymakers from around the world issued a global call for urgent action: the Oxford Statement, A Call for Global Access to Quality-Assured Medical Products.

  • Published in The Lancet Global Health, the Oxford Statement is the outcome of the first International Conference on Medicine Quality & Public Health, where participants from across sectors discussed strategies for protecting the quality of medical products globally.  
  • The Oxford Statement outlines four key interventions to ensure universal access to quality medical products:
    • Adoption of the WHO’s “Prevent, Detect and Respond” strategy
    • Greater collaboration and harmonization across national regulatory authorities
    • Increased investments to strengthen supply chains and regulatory systems
    • Multidisciplinary research to understand the impact and solutions to this problem
  • The Oxford Statement reflects growing momentum in advocating for access to safe, quality medical products.