ISPOR Athens 2008 re-cap

Hello everyone,

back from 14 days of travel I thought I put together a short note on this year's European ISPOR conference in Athens. Certainly the venue was so much better than last year, and the weather for early November couldn't have been nicer, especially over the weekend. Needless to say that Athens had a lot to offer from cultural aspects to entertainment. Hope you all checked out the view from the Galaxy bar at the Hilton - the illuminated Acropolis by night, just amazing.
I have been networking and doing lots of internal stuff therefore didn't attend too many sessions. Just a few comments therefore on points I personally found interesting.
The harmonization discussion of the first plenary session was obviously not new and the idea still reminds me of the approaches taken by centralized economies of the former Eastern socialist block where many people seemed to believe that centralization and broad government interference and small long term planning committees will know better about the preferences of individuals and society, instead of letting the mechanisms of 'trial and error' combined with some healthy competition find out what might work best in each setting. From that perspective, the outcome of this session was to be expected - harmonization of methods and frameworks perhaps possible and useful to some extend, decision making and cost-effectiveness is a local matter - well, what else and rightly so. This topic is now probably sufficiently discussed and needs no repetition.
The old QALY discussion has not come too any new insights either, however here I find is still some work to be done as I am a strong believer that the QALY doctrine of some countries needs to be revisited - especially for the patient's benefit.
The second plenary about improving equity of access was an interesting debate from my perspective, I especially liked the presentation of Tienne Stander from South Africa. A while ago we both presented on biologic treatments at a South African health conference and the wide open discrepancy of basic health care needs versus the availability of highly sophisticated treatment options are especially pronounced in his country and is in need of actions. However, as long as the current health minister down there believes that HIV can be cured with herbal remedies, there is still a long way ahead.
On the poster front I noticed an increasing amount of work in the vaccine area, which I found very interesting as epidemiological models have gotten so much better. Also Oncology - needless to say - was broadly represented.
I haven't paid too much attention to the booths etc. but the usual "suspects" ;) and some new consulting companies where widely represented. Here it remains to be seen how the market will shape the scene up. Clearly with current restructuring in industry and the build up of broader market access capabilities, consultancies who get better at broader economics, understanding of payer systems and pricing strategies / deals will be better positioned as I believe we do not need to invest so much more in statistical model overkill, at least in most areas.
By the way, everyone I was talking to was anticipating the second Latin American conference In Rio de Janeiro, Sep. 2009 to be a huge success - I already offered my Brazilian colleagues a lot of support in order to make that event happen myself ;)

I guess I'll see you all over Caipirinha next year!

As always, best wishes

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With all the consolidation going on in the consultancies (e.g. IMS and i3 seem to be buying every consultancy going) it would be good to know what people thought of the newer consultancies that you alluded to in your post.