APP2020, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s annual national conference and the largest pharmacy conference and trade show in Australia, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The APP was scheduled to be a four-day trade exhibition, held from March 18-22, showcasing the latest products, services and industry information.
More than 6000 pharmacy owners, managers, pharmacists, intern pharmacists, retail managers, pharmacy assistants and company representatives were expected to attend.
Just two days ago the Australian Pharmacy Professional Conference organisers said they were pleased to announce that a new session regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) had been added to the APP2020 program.
“We are pleased to announce that Dr Catherine Kelaher, principal medical adviser at the Commonwealth Office of Health Protection, will attend APP to deliver a tailored presentation on COVID-19 on Saturday 21 March from 12:15 – 1:00pm,” conference convenor and chairman Kos Sclavos AM said.
Earlier today, the annoucement was made that the conference had now been postponed.
Kos said the difficult decision to postwas made based on several health and safety concerns.
“The ongoing disruption caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in global company travel restriction policies which are impacting upon speakers and the trade exhibition. In addition, the recently announced cases of Coronavirus on the Gold Coast, and the need to preserve the health and wellbeing of our frontline pharmacy workforce has resulted in the postponement of APP2020,” he said.
“The APP organising committee, The Pharmacy Guild of Australia and the Gold Coast Convention Centre have relied on expert health advice and information from state and federal health departments and public health warnings. As recently as yesterday, the committee received briefings from both the State and Commonwealth Governments and are acting in accordance with their general advice.
“APP has a large footprint, not only within the community pharmacy sector, but throughout the entire Gold Coast community. The health and safety of delegates, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, conference centre staff, suppliers and the general public is of the utmost importance for us.
“We understand the impact this decision will have on the community pharmacy sector and the local Gold Coast economy. After hosting the event for the last 30 years, it saddens us deeply to take this action.
“The encouragement and dedication of our sponsors and exhibitors has delivered a proud history of APP and we thank all our supporters for their vision, commitment and dedication to the community pharmacy sector.”
Kos added that a reduced program, called APP Online, is currently being developed for registered delegates to view streamed content and recorded sessions, online.
“While we work to confirm new dates for APP, ‘APP Online’ will offer as many of the APP face-to-face sessions, in a digital format, as possible. This means that delegates will still be able to hear the latest industry, business and clinical updates and record the CPD credits that they would have gained at APP,” he said.
Kos said he would like to take the opportunity to “apologise for any inconvenience caused to delegates, speakers sponsors, conference staff and exhibitors and welcome everyone to participate in ‘APP Online’.”
A full program for ‘APP Online’ will be made available soon via www.appconference.com.
A statement on the APP website said:
“Given the significant costs incurred in preparing the event and the costs incurred by delegates, sponsors and exhibitors a partial rebate will be put in place and communicated to delegates, sponsors and exhibitors as soon as possible. While no obligation exists, the partial rebates are a clear sign of good faith by The Guild in Queensland and the APP Committee. We value our relationships and ongoing support before financial considerations. Given that COVID-19 is a communicable disease, no insurance claim is possible for the event.”