RAPS' virtual Euro Convergence 'provides needed forum' for European regulatory pros

RAPS AnnouncementsRAPS AnnouncementsRAPSRAPS' Latest | 30 October 2020 |  By 

RAPS’ weeklong 2020 Euro Convergence wrapped up today, fittingly concluding with a session devoted to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the future of regulatory. The profound effects of the pandemic have reached across myriad aspects of healthcare and regulation, forcing regulators and regulated industry to adapt and collaborate in new ways, streamline processes and work on accelerated timeframes.
Euro Convergence programming also had to adapt to suit this year’s unique circumstances. Originally planned as a face-to-face conference to be held in Brussels this past spring, Euro Convergence—RAPS’ major annual European-focused event—was moved to October and redesigned as an all-virtual conference. Despite the challenges, the event attracted more than 400 participants over five days and earned many positive comments from attendees and speakers.
Attendees heard from more than 100 expert speakers representing the European Commission, the European Medicines Agency, the US Food and Drug Administration, several notified bodies and other thought leaders. The conference featured 33 sessions devoted to medical devices and in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), and 11 sessions covering pharmaceuticals.
“Euro Convergence provided a needed forum for the European regulatory community at a critical time,” said conference committee co-chair, Gert Bos, FRAPS, PhD, executive director and partner with Qserve Group in the Netherlands. Bos is also RAPS president-elect. “Medical device manufacturers and health authorities have to continue to prepare for the implementation of the Medical Devices Regulation (MDR) next year, and the IVD Regulation (IVDR) in 2022. Those regulations are coming regardless of the pandemic.”

“Notified bodies are also anticipating the new regulations,” added said Sabina Hoekstra-van den Bosch, PharmD, FRAPS, regulatory strategy principal at TÜV SÜD, who served as the conference committee’s other co-chair. “Notified bodies have to implement the new regulations jointly with manufacturers and health authorities, so having the perspectives of all three represented and involved in Euro Convergence was extremely beneficial to all stakeholders.”
The MDR and IVDR were themes throughout the first half of the week, when sessions focused on medical device and technology regulations. The latter part of the week was devoted to regulations governing pharmaceuticals and biologics.
While some participants expressed understandable disappointment at not being able to gather in person, there also was praise for the strengths of the virtual format, including convenience, savings on travel expenses, and a feeling of more intimate access to speakers. Many attendees also complimented RAPS on thoughtfully pivoting to deliver a high-quality virtual experience.
Next year’s Euro Convergence is scheduled to be held 10–12 May.


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