Membership information for the Pharmaceutical Blow-Fill-Seal International Operators Association (BFS IOA)

Dear BFS member,

During the past year, we have noted some confusion around the BFS IOA membership system. The board would therefore like to take the opportunity to explain the details around our membership system and its implications.

  1. The membership fee (currently 1100 Euro or corresponding amount in US dollars) should be paid by the company and is not linked to any particular person in that company.
  2. Where the company is multinational, every regional part of such a company should pay a membership fee, alternatively the company could apply for a Global membership (allowing all subsidiaries and agents to attend all meetings, contact Jesper Laursen for more details).
  3. Once a membership fee has been paid, that company is allowed to send any number of employees to any number of meetings, globally.
  4. The company also has a right to vote (one membership – one vote) at the yearly Annual General Meeting (AGM). Voting should be made to reflect the company view, or the majority of active employees views. It is up to the company employees to agree on the voting, prior to sending the vote to the AGM or assigning one person (attending the AGM) to represent the company.

As you can see, the above system is very much different than e.g. the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA) system, where each individual in a company must become a member to be able to attend meetings. For large companies, this risk to become a major cost, and in addition, large fees are normally needed also to attend the meetings in addition to the membership fee.

At BFS meetings, you are normally required to only cover your costs for the hotel, and a nominal minor fee to cover for the conference arrangements.

Ideally, all member companies should send in a contact list with names at various line functions, with a potential interest in BFS related subjects. An example could be:

  • Production management
  • Engineering
  • QA/QC
  • R&D
  • Purchasing
  • Top management

Having several contact persons will allow us to better disseminate the essential information and help in allowing more employees to take advantage of the company membership.

The board members and Appointed Officers do their work solely on a voluntary basis without financial compensation, other than coverage of travel related expenses (coach/economy class) during our meetings. To be able to organize three major meetings (one per geographical region) yearly, we also rely heavily on our sponsors, both Global / general sponsorships and specific ones for local meetings. This is an important part of our financing, complementing the membership fees.

Since the BFS IOA is a non-profit association, relying primarily on voluntary work and sponsoring companies, we have been able to maintain the yearly membership fee for a complete company to 1100 Euro. As a comparison, this is generally less than the cost for sending one person from one company to one PDA meeting per year.

The BFS Association started out as a lobby organization some 20 years ago, and in recent years our close connections with the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other European and Indian Health Authorities have really rendered us a reputation and global view as the industry expert in the field of BFS processing. Naturally, this makes us (and thereby the company members) stronger in their position and in discussions with authorities across the world. We need to carefully foster this reputation and responsibility, and with more member companies we will be in an even better position to provide real impact. The most striking example in recent years, of course, is the changes implemented by the FDA to their BFS-section of the aseptic guidance based on input from the BFS IOA.

The BFS IOA meetings are designed to contain a wealth of technical presentations, specifically relevant to BFS users and suppliers to the industry. Another important part of these meetings are the social and networking parts where colleagues get together and share experiences, discuss best practice or meet with suppliers. We constantly try to place our meetings at interesting locations to allow for comfort and ambiance in nice surroundings. Whenever possible, we try to spice the events with a local BFS facility visits to add to the experience. Take the opportunity and show appreciation to your skilled employees by sending them to the BFS IOA meetings, both to learn more about BFS but also to enjoy a break in the daily routine and to build on the professional network of your company.

We do hope that the BFS Association can continue to add value to your company and function as a united voice for the BFS users and suppliers, but we need your help. To the board (and to the members), it is self-evident that in order to draw advantage of the benefits in an Association, you must become a member. I am sure that when reflecting over what wealth of knowledge and experience you get access to in the Association, the networking and the fact that we together can make a real difference in our discussions with various health authorities around the world, you will agree with us that the membership fee is money well-invested.

I am looking forward to meet and discuss with you all during this year, 2006, and in the future. BFS technology is becoming increasingly more accepted as the advanced filling technology we all know it is, much related to the work we are making as a united lobby group.

Best personal regards,

Anders Löfgren, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Board, BFS IOA

+ the Board members and Appointed Officers:
Martin Haerer, Holopack, Germany
Eric Dewhurst, IVAX, U.K.
Jesper Laursen, MELITEK, Denmark
Arjun Ramrakhyani, Weiler Eng., US
Gajanan Sathe, Fresenius, India
Nandan Chandravarkar, FDC Ltd, India
M.K.G. Pillai, Ahlcon Parenterals Ltd, India