World Congress on Drug Discovery and Development, Nov 23-25, Bengaluru | Editor’s Review

If you were thinking that you would be attending a routine pharmacology conference, you definitely might have been either lost or stuck in awe. Because drug discovery and developement is a team work between Pharmacists, (Nano) Organic Chemists, Clinicians, medical pharmacologists, veterinarian etc. To our surprise, we a got lot more that drug discovery and development. We got to know about geriatirics and gerontology. Also about women’s health to an extent. Because this congress is a “Convention for Multidisciplinary Consortium“. It’s a conglomeration of three international conferences | World Congress on Drug Discovery and Development, World Congress on Geriatrics and Gerontology and World Congress on Gynaecology and Paediatrics  | organised by “Biogenesis Health Cluster” with the support of Govt. Of India: Department of Biotechnology-Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Social Justiuce and Empowerment, ICMR, Department of Pharmaceuticals-Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Indo-British Geriatrics Council.

Now thats what we call as a humongous sponsorship or support- whatever you like to name it. Pictures of Shri.Pranab Mukherjee, President of India | Shri.Narendra Modi, Prime minister of India, Shri.Siddaramaiah, Cheif Minister of Karnataka | Shri.Jagat Prakash Nadda,  Minister of Health and Family welfare | Dr.Soumya Swaminathan, Dir.Gen ICMR | Dr. G.N Singh, DCGI and many others were displayed on the home page of all the three events mentioning them as ‘Guest of Honour‘. This lured the delegates to register for the event. At the venue, only their posters were displayed and none of them came for the inaguration. Is it legitimate to display those politicians names, as “guest of honour”, who never presented themselves at the event? If the answer is yes, then next time we can expect any organising body getting funds from ICMR or DBT/DST and doing the same.

Guests of Honour who never came for the Congress

Guests of Honour who never came for the Congress

Commonly, conferences will be organised either by a national or international soceity/association or by medical colleges. It can also be from the pharmaceutical/medical device companies. This World congress was soley organised by an event management company – Biogenesis health cluster (They can also be named as a CRO as they handle various domains. Check out their home page). Their event portal page gives the details of all these conferences as a seperate  event and no where mentioning that all of those were going be conducted under the same roof. Many people were not aware of this fact. When we came to know about it a couple of days before the conference, we presumed that these events will take place in seperate halls at IISC campus. But all the three conferences were conducted in the same hall: J.N.Tata Auditorium in IISC campus.

Many were bewildered when they entered the venue until they saw two different paper presentation schedule banners and a common program schedule banner.

Day 1 started with Geriatric topics from 9 AM – 11 AM and was followed by inauguration and lunch. I must say the lunch was below average for an international event. Post lunch session was more of drug discovery and less of geriatrics.

Day 2 and day 3 had the same pattern. Day 2 had one topic on Menopause and Sexual health from the famous OG-cian & Sexologist, Dr.Padmini Prasad. Topics on pediatrics were missing.

The 60% of the talks were well delivered with an impact on the audience. Remaining 30% were average talks which bored the audience and the 10% we did not attend.

Many pharmacology PGs were not happy with the conference and were skipping the sessions. They missed many good talks. Those talks would have opened up their way of understanding research. Few note worthy ones were:

  1. Hormone imbalance are not more issues of elderly: Dr. Deepak Chathruvedi
  2. Menopause and Sexual Health: Dr. Padmini Prasad
  3. Training commnity Pharmacists on Pharmacovigilance: Dr. Pranaya Mishra
  4. Technological Advancement in Clinical Research: Dr. M.U.R Naidu | Click here to watch his presentation
  5. Falls in elderly: Dr. Sanjay Bajaj
  6. Challenges in diagnosis and mangagement of hypothensive syndromes in elderly: Dr. Kannayiram
  7. CKD- Silent killer in elderly: Dr.George Abraham
  8. Eye Examination in elderly & eye signs as presenting signs in systemic diseases: Dr.Sunil Moreker

About the selection criteria for paper / oral presentation, there wasn’t such thing. Any paper which was sent, even after the deadline for submission, | Example being my abstract acceptance | got accepted without even properly segrregating those into relevant headings. I presented a case report on “Diclofenac induced Fixed Drug Eruption” under “Clinical Research” hood which had original research paper presentations from Nano-organic chemistry, molecular docking to simple seminar topics without novel findings. Also there was no “Late Breaking abstract” submission which is a common thing in an international event (not necessarily a compulsive one). This was clearly showing the business motive of the organising company withiout giving much importance to research findings.

Pros about the conference

  • Excellent networking oppurtunity
  • Holistic approach to research
  • Good ambeince: Both in the main auditorium and paper presentation halls
  • Business perspective: Good platform to meet potential partners and investers

Cons about the conference

  • Average food for an international conference standards
  • No gala dinner
  • Varied topics clubbed for paper presentation which can not be a measuring scale for awarding best presentation
  • Many paper presentation topics were not original research but were just simple seminar topics and the presenter (Post graduate students) were trying to rush it up in 8 minutes-alloted time
  • Not providing the credit hours certificate at the venue (We were told that we will be receiving it through post)

If you check in biogenesis website, they charge annual membership subscriptions (individual-student/faculty and corporate-Emerging/Established) for availing discounts at their conferences and also to receive news letters. First time we are coming accross such business model.

From our perspective and also hearing other delegates view, this conference should have been more transparent and should have had stuck on to their theme. Merely giving half-a-day session for a theme and also providing average food, next time, when biogenesis organises a conference i doubt there will be a repeat audience. With huge support from Govt. of India (Which makes us to wonder why?), Biogenesis Healthcluster will continue their business model.

Drugs<>Therapeutics<>Big Pharma
impas Natesh Prabhu Administrator & Chief Editor | Clinical Pharmacologist | Diabetic-Sexual Medicine-Regenerative Therapy Consultant | President, Indian Medical Pharmacologists Association