Being International: More Than
A Question Of Geography?
Like many professional societies, ISPOR has the
term 'international' in its name. Of course, this says
a lot about the society's aspirations. However, what
does being international really mean and how well
is the society doing?
A major indicator of how international the society
has become is the composition, by region, of its
membership. Figure 1 shows that this has changed
markedly since 2000. Even this does not give the
whole picture, as ISPOR has established local
chapters in more than 15 countries. These offer
individuals the opportunity to become associated
with ISPOR without bearing the costs of becoming
a full member.
The other main indicator that ISPOR is becoming a
truly international society is the growth in international
meetings. With the Annual International
Meeting being held in North America, the Society
has held an annual congress in Europe every year
since 1998. So far, 8 countries have been visited,
with 3 new ones (Ireland, Greece, and the Czech
Republic) hosting our meeting in the next 4 years.
Since 2003, the society has also held biannual conferences
in the Asia-Pacific region, with plans as far
ahead as 2012. Finally, there are plans for the first
Latin American regional meeting in 2007. If this is
successful, more meetings in that region may follow,
also on a biannual cycle.
Therefore, if we judge merely by geography, ISPOR
is certainly becoming increasingly international.
However, is there more to
becoming a truly international
society? Of course, it
is important to increase the
voice and representation of
members from regions
and outcomes research
is emerging. Four years
ago, one position on the
Board was allocated to a
member from Asia and
there are plans to broaden
the representation further,
to include members from
Central/Eastern Europe and
In addition, it is important that the Society is
responsive to the issues and concerns of members
from all regions. To this end the Board has
approved an International Fellowship program, to
enable more individuals from emerging regions to
travel to, and participate in, ISPOR international
meetings. Also, funds have been set aside to allow
local chapters to apply for financial support from
ISPOR for their local meetings. The idea is to
enable local chapters to invite speakers from outside
their region, or to offer courses that are currently
only available to those individuals able to
travel to our International Meetings and/or
So where is this all heading? In an ideal world, more
of us would think more broadly about the contribution
of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes
research, beyond the constraints imposed by the
health care system in which we happen to operate.
Therefore, it would be possible to draw on examples
of good and bad practice from a wide range of jurisdictions,
with a view to identifying the best way forward
in our own setting. If we could begin to think
more internationally about the key issues facing
healthcare and the contribution that the sub-disciplines
of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes
research can make, we would be well on the way
towards reaping the benefits of being an international
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