A special report on the MEDICA Trade Fair
Düsseldorf, Germany, Nov. 14 – 17, 2007
November 20, 2007
As I write this report I have been home from Germany for less than a day and even though jet lag is settling in, I feel strongly invigorated by my recent experiences.
This year a number of the companies that we normally see at the Medicine Week Congress in Baden-Baden opted not to participate in that program. The Medicine Week congress has been gradually getting smaller and smaller each year with fewer participants and fewer exhibitors. During our recent Tour #34 program the congress was the poorest attended I have ever seen it in some twenty years. This was great for our Tour participants, since the exhibitors had much more time to talk with them and to answer questions, but with fewer exhibitors . . .
Instead, several of those companies (including Med-Tronik) opted to participate in the annual MEDICA trade fair and congress held in Düsseldorf. So, I figured it was about time for the Institute to check out MEDICA and see if this would be of greater interest for our tour participants instead of Medicine Week. After Tour #34 I flew home, spent a few days in the office, and only five days after my return I headed back to Germany.
I can only tell you that this was an absolutely incredible experience. There is no way to fully describe it so I hope you will bear with me as I try to get down all my thoughts and impressions of this event. We ordered copies of the catalogs, hall plans and congress outlines in advance. The package that arrived was an education in itself. The catalog of exhibitors arrived by courier and – really – it is almost 2 inches thick!
This congress is called the “world’s largest medical trade fair”, and now I know why. This fair is attended by some 140,000 people and there are more than 4,400 exhibitors. Just arriving by car and getting parked is a perfect example of superior German efficiency and logistics.
This trade fair is primarily for orthodox medicine. As with Medicine Week, almost all of the congress lectures come down in German with no translation. Also, you must belong to the various medical boards or organizations to attend the lectures. Although there were some lectures on alternative medicine (including homeopathy and ozone), the main focus is on “school” medicine.
The majority of exhibitors were also focused on orthodox medicine. But, for attendees with the patience to look through the catalogs and wander through the halls there are so many precious gems to be found hiding among the rocks and gravel that it was well worth the effort. I walked for almost three days just to go through all of the 20 or so halls and here is a very brief outline of how everything was set up.
Halls 1, 2 and 3: Laboratory equipment, diagnostics and drugs
Halls 4 and 5: Physiotherapy/orthopedic equipment
Halls 5, 6, 7.0, 7.1 and 7a: Disposables, commodities, consumer goods and textiles
Halls 8a and 8b: COMPAMED – High tech solutions for medical technology
Halls 9 through 14: Electromedicine, medical technology, operating tables and medical furniture
Halls 15 and 16: Information and communications technology, hospitals and doctors surgeries
Hall 16 and 17: National and international joint participants; facility management and building automation
CCD.Süd, CCD.Ost, and CCD.Pavillion: MEDICA congress
There were exhibitors and lecturers from every thinkable country. There was a huge Chinese presence, along with Germany, Russia, United States, Switzerland and too many others to mention them all. Even in my little out of the way hotel filled to overflowing with MEDICA participants I heard Russian, Italian, Polish, Japanese, Chinese, English and of course German.
And how to explain all the “things” I saw exhibited? Well there was everything from . . .
Acupuncture supplies to ⇒ AIDS tests
Band-Aids to ⇒ Breast implants
Clogs (medical of course) to ⇒ CRT machines
You get the idea . . .
Exercise machines to ⇒ X-Ray machines
Zinc ointment to ⇒ Zeiss microscopes (small & very big!)
For us the most interesting aspect is the inclusion of so many of our alternative methods within this “traditional” medical trade fair. As our methods have become more accepted, and as the instrumentation has become registered under the ISO regulations, they have been incorporated more and more into the main stream. Among several of the companies that I visited (the really precious gems) were Med-Tronic (MORA), AMS (magnetic field therapy), Power Medic (handheld lasers), Reimers & Jansen (handheld lasers), Hänsler (ozone) and Thieme (books!). Among the gems (not quite so precious for us) were Regumed, Ondamed, Auramed, LifeWave and so many others.
The one aspect that is missing – and which is so rich at Medicine Week – is the homeopathic remedy companies. Although the German Homeopathic Society was there, there were no individual remedy companies – nor were there any allopathic remedy firms.
This was an experience I will never forget. Busy, fascinating, almost overwhelming, and definitely very interesting are only a few of the adjectives I can use at this point. We are seriously considering visiting MEDICA instead of Medicine Week during Tour #35 next year. I will be discussing this with the Board of Directors over the next few weeks, and we will be announcing dates and program for that Tour early in the New Year.
Carolyn L. Winsor-Sturm
Managing Director and CEO