Incoming DIA President Offers DIA Insight

June 18, 2009

Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical Trials spoke with President-elect, DIA Board of Directors; Jeff Sherman, MD, FACP about the Association, the 45th Annual Meeting, and upcoming DIA initiatives.

Applied Clinical Trials spoke with President-elect, DIA Board of Directors; Jeff Sherman, MD, FACP about the Association, the 45th Annual Meeting, and upcoming DIA initiatives.

Dr. Sherman is Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President of Research & Development, IDM Pharma, Inc. He has held a variety of clinical development and research positions at Searle/Pharmacia and went on to lead the oncology clinical research as Head, Oncology Global Medical Operations. Dr. Sherman completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Northwestern University, among a wealth of other research-related activities, bringing substantive and applicable experience to the DIA table.

DIA
“It’s a small world in more ways than one,” says Sherman. “DIA realizes that drug development and access to drugs is a worldwide issue.” Explaining the roots of DIA from North American-based, which then spread to Europe and now to India and China, Sherman believes the strength of the Association is its ability to bring together many parties to share knowledge, information, and ideas in a neutral zone. “It is the commitment of DIA to provide neutral forums for government, regulators, academia, industry, and the patients and patient advocacy to share that information and knowledge,” explained Sherman. “We are a political action committee. We don’t lobby anyone one way or another. We offer the access to information and the access to knowledge.”

Of the many benefits that DIA offers is that it brings together a large number of global regulators. Sherman believes that the neutrality of DIA, as well as the less formal venue of the DIA gatherings, facilitates greater sharing and dialogue.

The 45th Annual Meeting
The focus of this 45th Annual Meeting is Better Medicines: Improving Safety with Every Step. With safety at the forefront, Sherman said, “First and foremost, and as a trained physician, you want to “do no harm.” He continued that the truth is, in regard to drugs, there is risk and harm. Addressing and managing the expectations around that for the public is key, believes Sherman. “Making sure that care is acceptable, accessible and the benefits and risks to the public are explained is part of the dialogue of the DIA members.”

“Everyone is aware that perceptions or misperceptions are out there [about the pharmaceutical industry], but if we bring everyone in on the dialogue, not just government and industry, but academic and the patient perspective, then we are all on a level playing field,” Sherman elaborated.

Bring People Together
As part of the globalization of drug development, the DIA has expanded its offices to China and India. In addition to its “face-to-face” annual meeting in the United States, the DIA EuroMeeting, global regional meetings, and education offerings, DIA is continuing its forays into electronic connections. “How best can we bring people together,” said Sherman, “and that’s not just the annual meeting, it’s with Webinars and the Internet.”

“Studies may be getting done, not just in the United States, and product is being manufactured elsewhere,” stated Sherman. “We have to bring people together virtually or in meetings.” He credits all the staff members at DIA for their ability to provide the outreach and vehicles that connect and bring people together.

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