Messages from the ISPOR Presidents
Sean D. Sullivan PhD
2003-2004 ISPOR President
Good morning, and welcome to the 9th Annual International Meeting of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research. I want to welcome you on behalf of the 2003/2004 ISPOR Board of Directors. I would like to thank Michael Drummond, George Torrance and Martin Buxton for their heart felt tribute to Bernie O'Brien, the general chair of this meeting.
The ISPOR Board of Directors, in tribute to Bernie's many contributions to the field and to the Society, would like to announce the establishment of the Bernie J. O'Brien New Investigator Award. The award was established to honor his long-standing commitment to training and mentoring new scientists. Nominations will be solicited from the membership and shall be no more than five years from their entry-level position. The awardee will receive a research grant of $5,000 and up to $1,500 in travel expenses to attend either the Annual European Congress or the Annual International Meeting. I would like to recognize Bernie';s wife, Karen O'Brien and his administrative assistant, Christine Henderson. The Bernie J. O'Brien New Investigator Award is an endowed award with half of the funds dedicated to an endowment set up for Bernie and Karen's children, Emma and Lucy.
I would like to introduce to you the 2003/2004 Board of Directors and your elected officials. Professor Lieven Annemans of the University of Ghent is the incoming President. Professor Peter Davey Immediate Past President, University of Dundee, Kerstin (Chris) Bingefors, Uppsalla University, D.S. Pete Fullerton, University of Washington, Mark Nuijten, MEDTAP International, and Jean Paul Gagnon; Aventis Pharmaceutical have completed their terms as Board members. Randel Richner, Boston Scientific, and Marcus Wilson, Health Core will remain on the Board for another year, and Lorne Basskin, North Shore Medical Center, is the new Treasurer for 3 years. The results of the election were announced to the Board yesterday and I am pleased to announce the names of the incoming officers: Peter J. Neumann, Harvard University President-Elect, and Board Members Jens Greuger, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Laurie Beth Burke, FDA, and Isao Kamae, Kobe University.
The accomplishments of the Society and its members this past year are numerous. I am pleased to report to you that revenues, membership and attendance at all meetings have risen sharply. This past year a total of 2,700 individuals attended one of the three ISPOR meetings. The First Asia Pacific Meeting was a success, attracting 270 attendees from over 18 countries. Congratulations are in order for Isao Kamae and the local organizing committee. The Board received welcome news this week from Professor Kamae that plans are well underway for an ISPOR Asia Consortium. For those of you who were in Barcelona, you know, we exceeded the capacity of the hotel and welcomed 1,200 attendees. This coming year, the European Congress will be in Hamburg, Germany and then in 2005 in Florence, Italy.
ISPOR publications are the vehicles by which our members present some of their best work. Value in Health enjoyed a successful year with substantial growth in submitted and published papers. The Publisher, Blackwell Publishing, reported positive financial gains as a result of growth in subscriptions and supplements. The online web site that hosts the Journal experienced 64,000 downloads during the period January 1, 2004 to April 30, 2004. ISPOR Connections and the newly launched eBulletin provide another means for communicating with the membership. Health Care Costs, Quality, and Outcomes: ISPOR Book of Terms is off to a great start with over 2,000 copies sold in the first 5 months.
I would now like to report on some specific accomplishments of activities initiated by Board Members this past year. Several years ago, then President Bryan Luce created the Health Sciences Committee with the remit of summarizing and publishing the scientific evidence base supporting best methodology practices. Several scientific best practice guidance documents emerged from this effort, yet much work remained. Presently, co-chairs Richard Willke and Scott Ramsey are leading the Prospective Trial-Based Cost Effectiveness Analysis Task Force toward a consensus document on best research practice. This document will be vetted through a review committee of ISPOR members before it is finalized and published in Value in Health. The anticipated completion of this report is October 2004. The Board has recently given its approval to a joint ISPOR/ISOQOL Task Force on Best Research Practice in Quality of Life and Patient Reported Outcomes. Patrick Marquis representing ISPOR and David Feeny representing ISOQOL will co-chair this Task Force. The Board will appoint three additional ISPOR members to serve on the task force.
This year Board members organized three board-level advisory councils with the remit to advise ISPOR Board of Directors on important aspects of scientific, and health care policy issues relevant to the society. The Health Sciences Council, chaired by Jean Paul Gagnon, will advise the Board on scientific and policy issues related to methodology and application. Board member Randel Richner initiated the North American Medical Device and Diagnostic Council to advise and direct the Board relative to issues of interest to device and diagnostic technology. The Health Care Strategy Council was initiated by Marcus Wilson to seek input from health care decision- makers on use of outcomes research decision-making.
Marc Berger, Gerry Oster and the Vision 2010 Committee have completed their charge and issued a report that was presented to the Board of Directors and is fully reprinted in this issue of ISPOR Connections. The Vision 2010 Committee has issued a bold and new direction for the society, that when implemented, will result in a truly international scientific organization with a regional consortium that can focus on and be responsive to local and regional issues under the ISPOR umbrella.
ISPOR and the Education Committee have launched an Internet Distance Learning Program that will have over 40 education modules as well as audio and video, slides and materials from ISPOR short courses.
The ISPOR website has been completely updated and has a new look. Last month, the website received 1.2 million hits. The website will soon host a searchable database of global pharmacoeconomic guidelines. This project was completed by Tony Tarn, Visiting Scholar from Taiwan National Defense University. When operational, you will be able to select and compare country-specific guidelines across various content categories. A web-based public awareness initiative will help ISPOR members disseminate scientific and policy press releases to the public.
Even with all these accomplishments, there are remaining challenges for the new Board of Directors. Importantly, implementation of Vision 2010 requires that the Board clearly set a new direction for the Society that broadens our membership and meeting base beyond North American and Western Europe. Our journal, Value in Health, continues to grow and gain reputation, but to sustain this, the editorial office needs our members to send their best papers and reports and to encourage others to do the same.
To close, I would like to thank my wife Catrena, and our children, Kiera and Aidan for enduring 6:00 AM conference calls and for the many days away from home. I want to thank Marilyn Dix Smith and the ISPOR staff for their tremendous dedication to this organization. Finally, a great thanks to all of you for allowing me to serve the society and for never saying "no" when I asked you to join a committee or work on some ISPOR activity. These past 2 years have been fun.