Hilary Davies, UCL.

The International Conference on Pharmacoepidemiology and Therapeutic Risk Management (ICPE) was held on 24-27 October 2014 in Taipei, Taiwan.  The conference was organised by the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) and this year was the conference’s 30th anniversary.

Pre-conference education sessions

The conference was preceded by two educational days.  These included workshops and lectures on pharmacoepidemiology, drug utilization research, pharmacogenetics and practical skills in protocol writing.  I unfortunately could not arrive in Taipei in time for these sessions.  They were extremely helpful and useful courses.

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There were approximately 800 candidates attending the conference.  The candidates were from different backgrounds, including clinicians, pharmacists, epidemiologists and statisticians.  It was an extremely well organised conference.  The days were divided into concurrent oral sessions, symposia and workshops, plenary and poster sessions.  Council meetings for the various councils in the Society for Pharmacoepidemiology occurred during the coffee and lunch breaks.

The overriding theme was the last 30 years and the next 30 years of Pharmacoepidemiology.

Other themes incorporated in the overriding theme included:

  • Antidepressants during pregnancy
  • Diabetes and cancer, the double wammy
  • To use or not to use psychotropic medications
  • From epilepsy to dementia
  • Adherence to drug treatmetn
  • Gain on pain

My presentation and travel scholarship

I was encouraged by my supervisor to submit an abstract to ICPE as part of my PhD incorporates the epidemiology of opioid substitute therapy in primary care.  I was very excited when my abstract was accepted for an oral presentation and I was also awarded a travel scholarship, which paid for my flights to Taipei, waivered the conference fee and an annual membership to ISPE.

I presented my work on opioid substitute treatment in primary care in the gain on pain session.  The session was focused on opiate use and treatment.  The other speakers were from Australia and USA and it was an extremely interesting session.  My talk went well and I managed to field some challenging, but useful questions.  It was the first conference that I have attended where there was a whole session on my field of interest.  I was able to network after the session and have since been in contact with some of the speakers.

Student night out

ISPE has a student committee and they organised a special student night.  We were taken to eat dimsum in the famous 101 building in Taipei.  This was a great idea as it was a good opportunity to network with students from other countries.  I thoroughly enjoy ICPE and will definitely try to go next year.

Hilary Davies, University College London

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