Executive Leadership | Global Chief Executive and Board Chair Message

To Our Readers

The Road to Morocco

John A. Roberts
Chair, DIA Board of Directors

Barbara Lopez Kunz
Global Chief Executive, DIA


e will soon come together in Basel for DIA Europe 2018 (April 17-19), our annual flagship gathering in Europe. With Brexit on everyone’s mind and European healthcare systems facing potential widespread changes (including EMA’s move to Amsterdam), this meeting could not come at a better time.

As we invite and amplify voices from the entire healthcare product development landscape, we will debate, learn, and grow – individually and as a community. In Basel we will also celebrate DIA’s 30 years of driving collective insights to action. Please join us in April!

World Rare Disease Day is February 28. No one celebrates disease; the objective of this Day is to raise awareness among regulatory authorities, researchers, and all other healthcare professionals about disease and its impact on patients’ lives. The HIV/AIDS movement in the early 1980s was the first of its kind – it put AIDS on the international agenda and compelled US policy makers and others to allow AIDS drugs to be more accessible. But, there have been many other “firsts,” some perhaps less glamorous but no less important: The first parent brave enough to question their child’s healthcare provider about a treatment plan that just doesn’t seem right; the first patient brave enough to enroll in a clinical trial for a promising new therapy for an illness with no current treatments; the first person to act upon the realization that the best way to begin meeting patient needs is to ask patients what they need; and the first regulatory agency to realize that there is strength in collaborating with their global counterparts.

This leads us to another first, our 1st Regional Conference on Regulatory Harmonization in Casablanca (February 27-28). Investments in medicinal products, biotechnology, and medical devices almost always take into consideration the product’s use in multiple countries; hence, a consistent and predictable regulatory system is crucial for these global industries. Representatives of local and multinational pharmaceutical companies, research and academic organizations, along with national and regional regulatory leadership, will gather in Morocco to focus on how to increase patient access to new and improved medicines throughout North Africa.

Following 2017 as an exciting year of innovation and progress, 2018 promises new, important changes that will also provide an opportunity for all of us to reach even higher in pursuit of our collective mission: Fostering innovation to improve health and well-being worldwide.

Join us – in Basel, in Casablanca, and wherever DIA drives insights to action!