Developing nations need better access to information that can improve the safety and quality of their medicines, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) said today.“Lower-income countries must be allowed to benefit from the sophisticated monitoring systems that already exist in industrialized nations,” said WHO’s Executive Director for Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals, Anarfi Asamoa-Baah. “This can only be done through a truly multilateral system.” While it is difficult to estimate the number of casualties in developing countries caused by adverse drug reactions, WHO pointed out that there is a growing amount of substandard or counterfeit medicines on the market. And even in countries with good regulations and safety measures, adverse drug reactions occur frequently, like in the United States, where in 1998 negative effects from medicines were estimated to be between the fourth and sixth largest cause of death. WHO will make its case for greater global attention to the problem at a meeting the agency is organizing this week in Amsterdam. More than 50 countries will participate in the gathering, together with independent pharmacology experts, drug regulatory authorities and international professional organizations.