‘Media is a carbon-carbon double bond between IPC and delegates’

‘Media is a carbon-carbon double bond between IPC and delegates’

Atul Kumar Nasa, Organising Secretary-Local Organising Committee, 60th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress, gives Sonal Vijan update on preparations for the Congress

Last year, the event witnessed 3,000 plus delegates from India and abroad. What are your expectations this year?

The 60th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), scheduled to be held at New Delhi from December 12-14 2008, at Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology, Dwarka, New Delhi, will be an event which will be remembered by all professionals and participating delegates. We have tried our level best to provide all facilities online and for first time in the history of IPC, delegates are allowed to use online facilities for registration, scientific presentations, accommodation, travel and sight seeing etc.

Initially, we were expecting around 5,000 delegates, but I am pleased to submit that as on date we have 7,000 plus delegates who have already registered for this event. The delegates/speakers include those from India and other countries like USA, Italy, UK, England, Denmark, Switzerland, Japan, Nepal, Kuwait, Turkey, etc.

Please share details of the number of stalls, expected exhibitors and visitors that will be seen at this year’s event. Is there an increase?

This year we have received a tremendous response and support from various exhibitors, who are going to participate in a huge exhibition being organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). As of now, around 275 exhibitors have already booked their space in the exhibition with the approximate area of 5,000 plus sq metres (net area). The exhibitors include those from the field of pharma machinery and equipment, lab equipment, pharma book publications, bulk drug manufacturers, pharma consultants, water treatment plants etc.

Since this is the diamond jubilee of IPC, what special can we expect?

We have some special coverage for scientific programme/presentations, exhibition, entertainment etc. Scientists working in different fields of pharmacy professions are invited from several countries including developed countries like USA, UK, Japan, Switzerland, Australia and developing countries like Turkey, New Zealand besides the scientists from our own country. Symposia will be held in different fields of pharma profession. Some of the silent fields include regulatory affairs, contract research, clinical studies, drug delivery, medical devices etc.

Research scientists/students working in pharma/pharmacy colleges were asked to present their contemporary research through poster presentations. Over 4,000 research papers were received. The Screening Committee has short-listed about 2,145 papers for poster presentations, which will be evaluated by experts during the Congress, and papers adjudged the best in each category will be awarded as the ‘Best Paper Award’ to encourage research in pharma. Research in the post GATT era would be a focused area. Technology plays a very important role in production and quality control of drugs and pharmaceuticals. Accordingly, the organisers of IPC have arranged an exhibition ‘PHARMAceutical EXPO 2008’ focusing on pharma equipment and machineries, and other related instruments which showcase the latest developments in technology and modern equipments and tools which can deliver better products.

Also, there will be a gala cultural evening endorsed by bollywood singer Shreya Ghosal on the evening of inauguration, followed by a fashion show, belly dancing, performance by comedian Jitesh Chawla, live band, dance troops, of course, anchored by a bollywood personality throughout the programme. We hope that the cultural evenings will be unforgettable and remembered by all.

We are feeling proud that Indian Pharmacy Graduates’ Association will be hosting the prestigious event. We are sure that under the presidentship of Dr M Venkateswarlu, President IPCA, and the dynamic chairmanship of Dr Surinder Singh, Drugs Controller General (India), and with the cooperation of all chairpersons/members of various task committees the Diamond Jubilee Congress will be a grand success.

Every year, IPC addresses different issues based on industry developments. Which issues according to you are likely to pick up pace and why?

We already have a document known as ‘Pharma Vision 2020’. The charter for ‘Pharma Vision 2020’ was released by his Excellency Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, the then President of India on 17th December 2003 at Chennai. The vision envisage that by the year 2020, pharmacists and pharma scientists working in the various disciplines of pharmacy will be recognised as experts on Medicine, Health promotion and Disease prevention.

Vision 2020 in the field of regulations envisages that India shall implement all the rules and regulations, which guide, monitor and control the activities of the providers of the healthcare system in the country and shall examine the way to bring them up to international level.

Some strategies included were the establishment of a Central Drug Administration; addressing issues of health food, dietary supplements, therapeutic foods, Indian system of medicine, herbal products and diagnostics; addressing issues of drug development and clinical research in India, including biotechnological products; and addressing issues relating to counterfeit drugs.

All the above issues will be deliberated during the Congress. It is through regulations and their implementation that object of regulation i.e. drugs of quality, efficacy and safety can be achieved. If we can provide people drugs of quality, efficacy and safety, we will be certainly providing better healthcare, as drugs are important components of healthcare system. Since this year’s conference theme is ‘Pharma Vision 2020—Regulations for Better Healthcare’, the focus will be on regulatory affairs. However, there would be deliberations on other topics also.

What has been the role of media and the industry in such events?

Media is just like a carbon-carbon double bond (C=C) between the IPC and delegates/community. Since this is a diamond jubilee conference, we are taking various issues/topics related to the development of the pharma profession and their regulatory aspects during scientific presentations. The media has to highlight the critical issues/resolutions discussed and passed during the Congress, so that the aim of the conference is achieved. This year, Express Pharma is the official media partner for the Congress and we are thankful to all the team members for the coverage. The role of the industry in such events is also crucial as they are involved in both in scientific lectures and the PHARMAceutical EXPO, which showcases new pharma technologies.

As the Organising Secretary of the Local Organising Committee of this year’s IPC, what is your advice to the registered delegates and industry professionals in general?

Though it is a Herculean task to be the Organising Secretary of such a mega event, we will try our level best to provide comfortable and enjoyable stay to all delegates during the Congress. The academia–industry interaction is always very important both for the students and the industry. On one side, where students can be benefited for their career prospects, having an interaction with the professional of the pharma industry/speakers/technology exhibited is a win-win situation for both industry and students.