Major international conferences becoming ‘too expensive’: Specialists

The rising cost of registration for major international conferences is pushing attendance beyond the financial reach of some specialists, it is being claimed.

The concern has emerged following revelations the American College of Rheumatology is charging USD $2299 for non-members to gain full access to the ACR Convergence 2022 conference, equivalent to some $3365 in Australian dollars.

By contrast, the price of full registration to the same event two years ago was USD $450 (AUD $650) for members and USD $595 (AUD $870) for non-members.

Prices are also on the rise for gastroenterology conferences.

The American College of Gastroenterology is charging USD $1880 (AUD $) for virtual access to its ACG 2022 conference next month, plus another $580 to access an endoscopy course.

In-person registration costs up to USD $2590 (AUD $3855), although this can be reduced depending on which sessions are registered for.

By contrast, the most expensive in-person registration package for the same even three years ago cost USD $1520 (AUD $2262), discounted to USD $700 (AUD $1040) for trainees.

The rheumatology college has stressed the events are not directly comparable, with the 2020 event held entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s edition, scheduled for November 10-14 in Philadelphia, will be conducted both virtually and in-person and is being billed as the “world’s premier rheumatology experience”.

Beyond that, it says reduced rates are available for college members (USD $1499/ AUD $2188), as well as for trainees and doctors from developing countries.

But although there is an option to purchase ‘virtual only’ registration, there is no discount – with tickets costing the same as those for in-person attendance.

Doctors took to social media to complain about the financial impost.

Dr Helen Linklater, a consultant rheumatologist at the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, said it was a major problem for those working part time.

“As a part-time consultant this is an issue, the virtual scientific session only fee exceeds my study budget allocation for the entire year,” she added.

What other major conferences are charging around the world

ERS (European Respiratory Society) 2022 Congress in Barcelona Cost € 840 for non early-bird tickets, € 920 for onsite tickets, discounted to € 715 for members.

By contrast, full registration including web access to its 2018 congress in Munich cost €820 for members and €980 for non-members, discounted to €340 (members) and €630 (non-members) for those who buy early-bird tickets.

ESMO (European Society for Medical Oncology) 2022 congress in Paris this month will cost € 1,032 for full registration, increasing to € 1,380 for non-members. However this price was discounted to €576 for those who bought early-bird tickets before 8 June.

Pre-pandemic, full registration including web access to its 2018 congress in Munich cost €820 for members and €980 for non-members, discounted to €340 (members) and €630 (non-members) for those with early-bird tickets.

This year’s European Academy of Neurology (EAN) congress, held in Vienna, cost €936 for non-members, discounted to €150 for virtual interactive registration.

Reduced fees were also available for delegates from low or middle income countries as well as students.

Registration to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress, held in Barcelona cost between €765 (early bird) and €995, depending on when tickets were purchased. There was also an option of spending €230 for online attendance.
The International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH) charged between £820 and £995 for in-person registration at its 2022 Congress in London by non-members, and between £605 and £865 for members.

Virtual attendance cost members up to of £395 and non-members up to £470.

The American Dermatological Association charged USD $1945 (AUD $2895) for early registration $2,330 (AUD $3470) for late registration to its annual meeting in Boston.

Pre-pandemic, it charged USD $1735 (AUD $2590) for early registration and USD $2080 (AUD $3095) for its 2019 conference in San Diego.

The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) is charging non-members €600 for early registration and €750 for late registration to attend its annual meeting in Stockholm, later this month.

Fees for non-member virtual registration are between €335 and €450 , depending on when tickets are purchased.

The European Crohn’s and Colitis Organisation (ECCO) charged non-members between €650 and €800 to attend its annual conference, which was held purely online.



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