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International Conference to Highlight European Union Markets

Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry
| MDDI Article Index

Originally published July, 1996

Packaging and Sterilization

Medical device packagers and manufacturers interested in the European market
will soon have the chance to learn about that
region's packaging and sterilization issues.

In September, industry representatives from around the world will gather in Vienna to present the first international conference and exhibition on medical packaging and sterilization. Organized by the European Sterilization Packaging Association (ESPA), a trade association representing medical packaging manufacturers and converters, "Packaging: Maintaining the Standard" will be held September 11­12, 1996.

Topics of the conference will include industry and hospital standards, barrier testing, packaging waste, and sterilization systems and practices. In conjunction with the conference, there will also be a small exhibition.

"The conference will provide U.S. medical device manufacturers with an eye opener to key packaging issues in Europe," explains Michael Baker, secretary-general of ESPA. "Manufacturers will also have an opportunity to learn about the packaging expertise that is available in Europe."

According to Baker, the conference will include a number of sessions of particular interest to U.S. companies involved in the packaging of medical devices. "Packaging Issues: Industry and Hospital Standards" will explain the approach of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) to the harmonization of European standards, the development of CEN standard EN 868 for packaging materials, and the effects that the European Union's Medical Device Directive will have on packaging. Baker will describe ESPA's policy regarding packaging standards.

In "Barrier Testing: From Microbe to Customer Assurance," speakers will discuss the use of microbiological techniques to determine the barrier performance of porous materials. Michael Scholla, medical packaging segment leader for DuPont Nonwovens (Wilmington, DE), will emphasize the need for a single universally accepted barrier test procedure and describe approaches to developing such a standard through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

"The Environment Matters: Packaging Waste" is expected to cover current and proposed European legislation regarding such waste and practical methods of handling it in a health-care environment.

The final session will focus on sterilization systems and methods used for medical products. Speakers will cover ethylene oxide, gamma irradiation, and low-temperature sterilization procedures. Although their main purpose will be to discuss the procedures, they will also consider relevant issues related to packaging materials.

The conference will also offer three workshops that will give attendees the chance to network with industry representatives. Workshop themes include the fundamentals of medical packaging, the reuse of single-
use products, and life cycle analysis. The last
workshop introduces Eco-Audit, a move within Europe to ensure that firms are running environmentally friendly operations.

The major sponsor of the show is Canon Communications, Inc., publisher of European Medical Device Manufacturer and Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry; the show is also supported by the Austrian National Trade Association (AUSTROMED), the European Confederation of Medical Devices Associations (EUCOMED), and the European Surgical Dressings Manufacturers' Association (ESDREMA).

For information on attending, contact
Louisa Rogers, IBC Ltd., London, +44
(0) 171 637 4383, fax +44 (0) 171 631 3214. --Daphne Allen *

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