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IPC revs up for platinum edition

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Women empowerment added as a new theme this year

With less than 80 days left for the start of the 70th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), the mood at the fifth meeting of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) was focused and diligent, with commendable attendance for a Sunday evening.

As various committee members presented updates on their designated tasks, the PHD Chamber of Commerce hall resembled a strategy room, with the heads of the dais strategising with their people on how this year’s edition would exceed the previous year’s. This competition with each year’s succeeding LOC, has kept the event relevant for delegates both from academia and industry, as well as speakers and sponsors.

In his welcome address Chairman LOC BR Sikri informed the members that he and AK Nasa, organising secretary, LOC have been meeting members of various national level associations. So far, IDMA, FOPE, HDMA, BDMA, CIPI, and Pharmexcil have assured full support for registration from their members as well as suggestions for good speakers and topics.

Nasa informed the audience that the website was working well, with many registrations coming in. He also informed that the scientific programme was almost ready.

Briefing on the scientific programme, Dr Arun Garg, Chairperson, Scientific Committee, said this year there were four tracks. While the first one focuses on the pharma industry, the second on regulations, third on academia, and fourth on pharmacy practice.

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Giving more details of the sub topics, Dr Ramkishan, Convenor, Scientific Committee, said that it includes sessions focusing on gene therapy, OTC issues, rare diseases, e pharmacy, medical device rules, etc. One important session would be on how to prepare pharmacy students for the future, aptly titled ‘Pharmacists yesterday, today and tomorrow’. Trends in drug development, with a special focus on Formulation, Biosimilars, trends in cosmetic technology, opportunities and challenges regarding stem cells trends products, regenerative medicine, trends on drug discovery as well as success stories from the industry would find prominent place in the 70th IPC conference agenda.

In terms of applications for poster presentations, he updated the audience that they have received 450 abstracts. Nasa reminded the audience that since Oct 10 is the deadline for submission of poster and scientific presentations they should spread the news through their networks.

A user friendly app will be launched 15 days after the scientific programme is finalised. This will inform delegates about the scientific programme of the day, hall locations, companies available for job fair, hall attendance, highlights of IPC, etc. Each committee presented their status report and progress, with senior members responding with suggestions based on experience of the past editions.

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Given the fact that this year’s venue is Amity University, there was additional emphasis on short listing adequate accommodation for student delegates as well as safe transportation facilities.

One innovative process adopted in the run up to this year’s IPC is the creation of a bulk registration facility for student members. Vijay Bhalla, Chairperson, Registration Committee said that he has created a bulk registration excel sheet for registrations of student delegates from universities. In addition, the LOC members decided at the meeting that for every 25 students registering from a single institution, one faculty would be offered complimentary registration.

Dr Raman Dang, Chairperson, Volunteers Task Committee informed that more PG students have registered this year. Another big first at this year’s IPC is the presence of a full track focusing on the issues faced by women who are part of the pharma sector. The Women Empowerment Committee, chaired by Dr Prajita, coined the Five Es as their goals. They hope to encourage, engage, empower, enact and establish women to survive and thrive in a male dominated sector like the pharma sector.

The committee also plans to circulate a feedback form for women delegates to gauge the areas where they can help and mentor, even beyond the 70th IPC. All experts in their own fields, the members of this committee will no doubt use their own personal experiences to inspire the younger generation on how to cope with gender issues as well as other considerations to make a mark in this competitive sector. Their aim will be to present as many examples of successful women leaders in the sector to be inspirational and aspirational.

Closing the LOC meeting, Nasa informed the audience that the next meeting would be on Nov 10. He expressed full confidence that all committee members and volunteers would work toward making this year’s IPC a landmark event like previous editions held in Delhi in 2001, 2008, and 2013.

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