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INTERVIEW: Anne Schumacher, Brand Director at Pharmapack Europe, 20 years of Pharmapack

Pharmapack 2017, kicking off on February 1, 2017 marks 20 years of Pharmapack. Pharmaceutical Daily has talked with Anne Schumacher, Brand Director at Pharmapack Europe.

PD: It started 20 years ago as a biannual event. When did it become a yearly event? Could you describe how did it all start?

A.S.: Pharmapack Europe started as a conference for the French market, with a small exhibition connected to it, focusing on Pharmaceutical Packaging and Drug Delivery. Since the beginning, innovation, education and networking have been at the core of the event. Originally taking place every other year in Paris, Pharmapack became an annual event in 2007, when the industry demanded a more frequent event to help them stay up to date on the latest trends, developments and regulations.

PD: How big is Pharmapack today in terms of the names of exhibitors? Who are the exhibitors, what do they mostly do?

A.S.: Today, Pharmapack is attended by the whole spectrum of the pharma packaging and drug delivery industry – from the biggest global companies to the smallest start-ups. 2017 will see 411 exhibitors at the event, established companies such as AptarPharma, Bormioli Rocco, West Pharmaceuticals, Gerresheimer, SGD, Schott, Nemera, BD Medical, Ompi, Datwyler, LGR Packaging, Mettler Toledo, Samsung Medical Rubber, but also some innovative companies like Pylote or Biocorp, and, for the first time in 2017, also a number of highly innovative start-ups.
Visiting companies include names such as B Braun, Bausch & Lomb, Bayer, Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Novartis, Sanofi and TEVA.
Visiting and exhibiting companies come from fields as varied as: pharmaceutical, medical devices (OEM), packaging materials, packaging & drug delivery, machinery & equipment, biopharmaceuticals and even veterinary.

P.D: Does the event only take place in Paris, do you intend to organize it elsewhere to reach more clients?

A.S: Since, its inception, Pharmapack has been based in Paris, with an audience and client base that has developed into a display of the European packaging and drug delivery community over the years. Nowadays, over half the attendees are international, however a good majority are French and so Paris remains ideal as our home, located centrally in Europe.

PD: Where does the majority of exhibitors and visitors come from, which continent is most represented?

A.S.: The core base for both visitors and exhibitors is Europe. Last year, we had the biggest international participation with attendees from 74 countries. The biggest representation came from France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the United States.

PD: Exhibitors showcase their business. What are the advantages for the visitors, and what social category do they represent (are they other pharma companies, “civilians” interested in Pharmapack companies…?)

A.S.: Although the event has grown into a leading industry exhibition, content and innovation are still at the core of the event. Visitors can benefit from the unique combination of a diverse, cutting edge content programme and the possibility to meet all industry leaders in one place. In addition, Pharmapack puts the most recent industry innovations in the spotlight, through a number of exciting features such as the Innovation Gallery and tours, the Start-up Hub and the Pharmapack Awards.

The visitors have the opportunity to attend an event that has been tailored and fully dedicated to the drug delivery and pharma packaging industry. The main visitor profiles seen at Pharmapack include:
purchasing/sourcing/procurement/buyer, general management, R&D, project manager, and packaging
development. Pharmapack is a place to network, innovate and learn about the latest developments in the pharma packaging and delivery devices industry.

PD: This will also be 10th year the Pharmapack has an awards section. How important are the awards for the exhibitors and the visitors?

A.S.: The awards represent how much innovation is at the heart of Pharmapack, showing the products that are breaking boundaries and developing the revolutionary solutions of tomorrow. Each year, the most innovative exhibitors and visitors compete to win these prestigious awards. All products entered have been launched in the past 12 months (i.e. the 2017 Awards feature products that entered the market in 2016) and winners often continue on the path of success that started at this event.

PD: How much innovation actually is showcased? Do companies work more on upgrading systems, or maybe work on completely new solutions?

A.S.: Innovation is truly at the heart of Pharmapack. The Innovation Gallery, Innovation Tours, Start-up Hub and Pharmapack Awards shine a spotlight on the most recent industry innovations. Innovations presented at one of these Pharmapack areas are approved by different panels of independent industry experts.
Like the rest of the event, the innovations displayed are a reflection of the level of innovation within the
industry, representing a mix of upgraded products and systems, as well as completely new solutions. With this, our exhibitors follow, stay on top of and in some cases lead the key developments and trends within the industry.

PD: Education is at the heart of Pharmapack. Who benefits most from it?

A.S.: I cannot emphasise enough how much of a unique atmosphere Pharmapack provides, both visitors and exhibitors come here to learn about their industry. The content programme and exhibition is a collaborative effort that nurtures the insights and core interests of our community. With a conference programme as diverse as the trends within the industry, Pharmapack offers insights for a wide range of attendees.

PD: In 2016, Pharmapack featured an International Meetings Programme, full 2-day Conference, 1-day Symposium, Workshops, Learning Lab presentations, Awards ceremonies, Innovation Gallery and Tours. Is there anything new this year?

A.S.: Yes, this year is really exciting as we launch the Pharmapack Start-up Hub, a new platform designed to offer cutting edge, young pharmaceutical firms a way to benefit from valuable networking, business and learning opportunities.

Exhibitors in the Pharmapack Start-up Hub are highlighted as the most innovative firms at the show, giving them a unique platform to showcase their ideas, meet potential customers, partners and investors and forge new relationships that will help them develop for years to come.

PD: When do the preparations for the next year’s event begin?

A.S.: Preparations for next year’s show are already underway.
Our focus is always to provide the best platform for the industry possible– delivering new content, and
attracting new audiences while continuing to create the opportunities for attendees and exhibitors to work more closely together. For this, we keep in constant touch with the industry all year round, so there is never a clear starting point.

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