I am a fan of attending conferences because, in addition to hearing thought-provoking presentations by knowledgeable speakers, you get to connect with the other attendees to learn what they are doing and thinking. That’s why it is so important to select the right conferences. Your goal should be to find the conferences that attract the best attendees so that you have the opportunity to make new connections and get updates from your existing ones. Of course, the speakers and their topics are also important.
The fall conference offerings have been established by now and so I wanted to review those that I plan to attend and explain why. In most cases it is time to register to get the “early-bird” pricing. In a few cases I can offer you an additional “RxTrace” discount.
Of course, I look for conferences and meetings that cover topics that I am most interested in: those that I write about. That includes pharmaceutical and medical device identification and track & trace technologies and standards. As a reader of RxTrace, you should find some of these interesting as well. Here they are in order of their occurrence:
LogiPharma, September 17-19, Princeton, NJ
This conference is heavy on the topic of pharmaceutical supply chain management, including serialization and track & trace from a manufacturer’s perspective. Speakers include those who lead the supply chain organizations of major pharma manufacturers. I like it because it attracts people whose job it is to figure out how to maximize the use of mandated serialization for both regulatory and ROI purposes. RxTrace is a media partner and I will speak on the latest activities in Congress, California and the FDA related to serialization and ePedigree. The early-bird savings are pretty significant so I recommend that you register before the end of July when it runs out. Use discount code “RXTRACE” and save $800! See you there.
UDI Conference, September 19-20, Baltimore, MD
Partly overlapping with the LogiPharma conference by one day is the UDI Conference. This is the premier event focusing squarely on the new Unique Device Identification (UDI) regulation promulgated by the U.S. FDA. The final regulation is due to be published by the FDA anytime between now and this conference. Last year this conference was co-produced by the U.S. FDA. I’m not sure that’s true this year but looking at the agenda it is clear that the FDA will present in force again this year. I learned a lot at last year’s event and I look forward to learning more this year. RxTrace is a media partner of this conference because I see it as such an important event. Early-bird registration ends on July 23 so register soon. You can get an additional $100 off for being an RxTrace reader when you use the discount code “RX” on the registration form. See you there.
Pack Expo, September 23-25, Las Vegas, NV
I attended Pack Expo for the second time last year in Chicago. It’s huge. Both times I have attended I made the mistake of trying to see the whole thing in only one day. That’s just not possible. Of course, my primary business interests are fairly limited to pharma packaging, serialization and case-packing systems, but I am an automation guy at heart and so I found so many other things there attracted my attention. My head spins and I can’t stop looking at just about everything. I think I’m going to attend again this year, depending on my schedule in late September. It might fit nicely to stop in Las Vegas for a day or two on my way to the California ePedigree meeting later in that same week (below).
Pack Expo is actually a “trade-show” more than it is a “conference”, although there are several loosely related organizations who usually hold a conference in the same venue. I spoke at the AIM conference that was co-located with Pack Expo in Las Vegas two years ago. I can’t offer any discount tickets but advance registration is only $30 for the trade-show entrance only. It’s fairly easy to find interesting exhibitors who may offer you a complementary entrance pass. I received an unsolicited offer for one just last week from Optel Vision, but I know that the following companies also usually exhibit. Check with them to see if they might make the same offer to you. Either way, make sure you at least visit the displays of these companies while you are there:
- Laetus (Coesia Group)
- Acsis Inc.
- Systech International
- Omega Design
- Korber Medipak
- Optel Vision
California Board of Pharmacy ePedigree Committee Meeting, September 26, Los Angeles, CA
Assuming Congress will not be able to agree on federal pedigree legislation in their current session, I will attend the next meeting of the California Board of Pharmacy ePedigree committee. Of course, if Congress ends up passing a single bill and the President signs it, the federal bill will certainly preempt the California law and so I would expect the Board to cancel this meeting. But if the California law is not preempted, this meeting will probably cover at least the topics that were discussed at the last meeting: Inference, Certifications and Inspections, as well as other pertinent topics. In that case, I’ll be there.
GS1 Global Healthcare Conference, October 1-3, San Francisco, CA
GS1 Healthcare Global always has one of their three annual conferences in North America and I always enjoy attending that event. This year they will meet in San Francisco, hometown of McKesson, the event sponsor. Now, not all GS1 Healthcare events would appeal to every RxTrace reader, but this one looks particularly good, with speaking slots for the U.S. FDA (devices and pharma), California Board of Pharmacy, EFPIA, RX-360, Ministry of Health of Turkey, Saudi Arabia FDA, UK MHRA, Japan Ministry of Health, EU Commission/IMDRF, World Customs Organization and others. Wow. All that, plus Ron Bone (McKesson), Joe Pleasant (Premier) and Mike Rose (J&J)! If you attend, don’t miss the tour of Alcatraz sponsored by McKesson and GS1 US. I won’t miss this event.
Partnership For Safe Medicines Interchange 2013, October 24, Washington DC
I have attended every PSM Interchange event since they started in 2010. Every year it is a little different. It started out featuring speakers and panels that expressed the problem of counterfeit drugs in the U.S. supply chain that existed in the early 2000s. More recently it seems to be focusing more on the problem of rogue websites that sell counterfeit and substandard drugs without requiring a prescription. My original complaint was that they did not focus enough on solutions. That was particularly true of the first event, but each year since then they have included more discussions of solutions. However, this is not a technology event but more of a policy event, so “solutions” here are strictly policy, regulatory and enforcement. I enjoy being a part of that type of conversation as well so RxTrace is again a media partner. Clicking on the link above will automatically apply a registration discount. See you there.
HDMA Track & Trace Seminar, November 11-13, Arlington, VA
The Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) holds this seminar every year and it has been my favorite event in the past (see “Terminology: Track and Trace, and Pedigree”). I missed the event last year but I put it on my calendar early this year so I would not schedule any family events over the top of it. I guess it is not technically a “conference” because the agenda doesn’t change much from year to year (and neither do the speakers), so they call it a “seminar”, but it is helpful to attend each year so you can see how attitudes and urgency change in the participants and get the latest regulatory news. The people who attend this event each year include almost everyone in the industry who has worked on serialization, pedigree and track & trace in the U.S. pharma supply chain for many years. It’s a great event for me to catch up with those people and make new contacts. I will admit that it is costly to attend—especially if you are not a member of HDMA—but maybe that’s what keeps it from being diluted. See you there.
California Board of Pharmacy ePedigree Committee Meeting, December 10, San Francisco, CA
Like the September ePedigree Committee meeting, if Congress does not pass a law that preempts the California law I will attend this event as well.
That’s every event I’m currently planning to attend this fall. I doubt if anyone but me will attend this specific mix of events. If you plan to attend a conference between now and the end of the year that you like but I did not list, feel free to leave a comment and tell us why you like it. I’ll weed out the conference promoters and only publish the comments from actual attendees. Remember, if you plan to attend a conference this fall, now is the time to register to get the best price.
See you there.