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Where healing meets business. Medical and pharmaceutical trade shows

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Medical trade shows are, without doubt, very significant events - not only because they provide companies from the industry with networking platforms to exchange the latest medical products and services, but also because they serve as a base for discussing potentially revolutionary concepts. These are the places where specialists meet to explore new solutions to the inevitable problems that lay before the medical world. These are the spots where engineers and company managers gain inspiration for fascinatingly futuristic ideas such as a "Smart Hospital". Moreover, these are the events that physicians and scientists often visit in order to contribute their knowledge and skills to the development of new diagnostic tools, medical IT or innovative drugs.

Here are some of the largest medical trade shows from around the world – each event listed below draws an audience of thousands of international specialists.


    • CPHI Worldwide is the largest and one of the most influential medical events, attracting millions of professional visitors and exhibitors through its extensive network of international, specialized trade shows. Each edition hosts about 2000 exhibitors and over 36,000 visitors. Annual editions include: CPHI South East Asia, Japan, Russia, Turkey, China, America, Korea, Spain and India. Aside from these key exhibitions, CPHI offers a series of conferences and forums touching on key medical issues (in London, Shanghai, Mumbai and Sao Paulo). Overall, it is an extensive empire of trade shows, bringing together the top suppliers, consultants, distributors and scientists from every corner of the globe to showcase innovative chemicals, products, services and equipment.
      Sections of the shows include: biopharmaceuticals, excipients, fine chemicals, finished formulas, natural extracts, APIs or custom manufacturing. The organizer of this event is UBM, an influential and experienced firm with numerous trade fairs from various sectors.


    • The largest fair of this kind in the Asia-Pacific region is the China International Medical Equipment Fair (CMEF), organized by Reed Expo – one of the largest event organizers in the world. Each edition features about 2800 exhibitors, 6000 booths and nearly 93,000 visitors – all this in an impressive venue of 130,000 metres squared.
      In order to ensure that CMEF is up to date with any innovative equipment, it is held twice a year – in spring and in autumn. The exhibition covers a wide range of medical products, including all kinds of diagnostic tools, first aid or medical technology. Nonetheless, the fair is quite focused on two areas: CMEF Imaging (where all industry leaders and experts come together to share innovative imaging products or ideas) and CMEF IVD (a section entirely dedicated to the growing in-vitro market – latest developments, diagnostics, and international achievements). Moreover, CMEF offers open conferences and forums divided into five sections: clinical research, policy interpretation, technological innovations, healthcare finance and international cooperation.


    • MEDICA is the largest German trade show dedicated to the medical sector, bringing together over 4000 exhibitors and 135,000 visitors annually. This giant is, again, organized by one of the principal trade fair organizers in the world – Messe Dusseldorf. Visitor target groups include general practitioners, hospital doctors or managers, medical trade, laboratory managers and more. Six varied forums complement the show, including a conference on Sports & Medicine or Medica Education Conference.
      Every edition is organized thematically, to facilitate navigation throughout the show. Products and services found at the expo fall into one of the 5 following categories: Electro medicine/medical technology; Information and Communications technology; Physiotherapy/orthopaedic equipment; Single-use and consumer items; Laboratory equipment/diagnostics.


    • Arab Health is the most important trade fair of the medical sector in the Middle East, held annually in Dubai, UAE. The impressive number of nearly 4000 exhibitors and nearly 125,000 visitors per year makes it one of the largest in the world.
      Although one may find almost any medical technology at the show, Arab Health is divided into some interesting sections. Its conference part, MedLab, aims to improve the standards of medical research worldwide and brings together top investors and specialists to discuss laboratory management, microbiology, immunology, haematology, clinical chemistry and molecular diagnosis. Recently, the show introduced a new segment – the "Future Surgery Zone". This latest feature of Arab Health deals with the cutting-edge surgical devices and methods including bloodless surgeries, minimally invasive techniques and devices, laser applications and plenty of seminars. Arab Health is organized by Informa – an organizer specialised in life sciences, with several events and conferences in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


    • Hospitalar, held annually in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is by far the most important healthcare event in Latin America – each edition attracts about 1250 exhibitors and over 90,000 visitors. The show provides an excellent opportunity to enter Brazil’s profitable healthcare market, but also allows companies and governments to update hospital equipment and get to know latest products and services on offer.
      The show encompasses products such as hospital equipment, emergency equipment, IT solutions, monitoring gadgets, medical apparel, laboratory instruments and many more. Hospitalar is also considered a crucial medical forum. During its 2014 edition, for instance, over 60 meetings and conferences were held simultaneously with the show. Moreover, several events are held concurrently with the main trade fair, including Hospitalar Digital Health (Telemedicine and Medical IT), Hospfarma (a section dedicated to pharmaceuticals and drugstores) and Diagnostica (a specialised area for the latest diagnostic tools).


    • FIME is an American medical show, hosting nearly 1200 exhibitors and drawing 24,000 visitors per year. This annual Miami show aims to bring together top creators, suppliers and distributors both from the United States as well as abroad. Aside from displaying related products, FIME is also a conference, neatly divided into seven sectors in order to attract a wide range of professionals. These seminars range from ones regarding sales or marketing in medical business to ones like “Smart Hospital” – dedicated mostly to technology.
      For ease of navigation, FIME is organized into thematic sections: Medical Technology, Medical Products & Supplies, Medical Services and Medical Equipment. Within each sector, one may find physicians, CEOs and managers, government officials, sales/marketing representatives and technicians or researchers.


Creating and managing a trade show on a scale similar to the events mentioned above is, certainly, a challenge. Naturally, these events are about business and are largely visited by CEOs and managers from the medical industry. Nonetheless, every medical trade show must offer something more than a mere display of products and services (although these often include ground-breaking technology and solutions). Events of this sort must go a step further and therefore, usually provide very extensive conferences, seminars and workshops, as can be seen above. This is because medical expositions aim to change people’s lives and often focus on getting as much knowledge and fruitful specialist-discussion in the limited time they have to offer. The results of this include faster diagnosis of illnesses (crucial in many cases), more modern hospitals or technology to make treatments faster, less painful or simply easier.