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| Written by Anne Zambrano

All You Need to Know About Pharma Forum 2018

Some of our Medical Meeting Masters descended on Philadelphia last week for the 14th Annual Pharma Forum 2018. With healthcare meetings being the largest segment of the meetings industry there is a lot to discuss in the medical meeting industry. So, what were some of the hottest topics and key takeaways? I asked our four conference-goers the below questions to get their opinion.

What were the biggest take-aways from the Pharma Forum 2018?
GDPR! These important four letters were a huge topic of conversation, and rightfully so, with the May 25th effective date quickly approaching the medical meeting industry is keen on making sure all processes and procedures are in place to comply with the new EU regulations. Here is what our team had to say about the topic:

“Knowing this is going into effect in May, all organizations in the industry can’t get enough information and details on GPDR to ensure they are compliant when the time comes. It was a widely discussed topic and more education is needed in the industry.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

“I was moderately familiar with the topic going into the conference and after listening to the speakers address the changes, I am now very interested in looking for more information to become more knowledgeable on it and its effects on clients.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“Overall, it was apparent that everyone is concerned about how it will impact event information moving forward, yet there seems to be a general lack of knowledge on the subject overall. With such sweeping changes to how we collect personal data, I believe there is a need for further education within the meetings industry.” – DAN TARPEY, HMCC – Vice President, Sales & Marketing

What are some of the industry compliance challenges you discovered at the event?
“Pharma, medical device, and third parties are all experiencing similar issues and concerns over compliance laws and regulations with there being so many differences between countries and states. However, some companies have figured things out and have implemented good policies and plans, while others are still in the learning process. For example, some don’t have any US state/OUS country system or database to obtain and track individual state/country laws/codes to ensure they are compliant with all for their meetings. Others don’t have a methods or assumptions document(s). I found it interesting that some are further along while others are still catching up. Pharma Forum is a great venue and opportunity for collaboration on all these methods.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

What are some of the industry compliance changes you discovered at the event?
“Compliance is an ever-changing environment with newly developed laws and codes being implemented each year. Due to all these changes and challenges within the industry, it is vital for each type of company (pharma, med device, third party, and supplier) to have a distinguished compliance officer and/or department managing and training internally, and with their vendors and suppliers, on all the new laws and regulations that impact them.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

What were some of the other hottest topics in the medical meetings industry?

Meal Caps
“Meal caps came up over and over. I really like the discussion on using data to enable data-based compliance discussions on what’s realistic. Something, that M&IW can do with our business intelligence system and existing compliance data.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“With the increase of pricing, labor, and materials increasing, the meal caps for HCP clinical meetings have remained the same in the last 5+ years. Hoteliers are finding it difficult to comply with these caps. Some meeting stakeholders have increased their caps in the last year (from $125-150, up to $150-200), and it appears others will follow in the near future. We need to make sure that these caps remain consistent with reasonable industry pricing and provide the valuable opportunity for HCP’s to attend meetings and events to further in their field and education.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

“Technology Solutions were a hot topic. Simply put, it was stated that ‘buying a tool that can support your needs is only a tool which will sit and gather dust without the appropriate process alignment with your objectives, buy-in, and implementation.’ That made a lot of sense to me. You must first have the manual process together before a tool of any sort can help you automate your process. Don’t expect technology to come in and ‘fix’ existing processes. It can come in and streamline good existing manual processes.” – KIRSTEN PETERSON – Account Director

“Two technologies came up in discussion at the event. The difference of the various compliance technologies, such as COAP and Sign4Compliance, was discussed. Since I have clients that use both technologies, it was great to get hands-on demos of both. Additionally, there was a great discussion on virtual international meetings. As I have a large pharma client exploring this meeting style currently, this discussion was very timely and helpful!” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

What are some of your final thoughts you want to share about Pharma Forum 2018?
“I found it remarkable that competitors in the pharma/med device industry all come together under one roof to share their experiences, concerns, insights, education, and best practices in order to exceed as an industry in creating the best opportunities and outcomes for their patients. They truly seem to have shared humanity in caring about public and patient trust and care.” – ANGIE GROSS, HMCC – Sr. Manager, Reconciliation & Compliance Reporting

“It is reassuring after attending an event like this that M&IW is ahead of the game and very posed to play the role of an expert consultant and partner in this space. It was interesting to see that I felt that some of the questions/topics were fairly basic and yet there were tons of people who found the info brand new to them.” – ANDI STELPFLUG, MBA, HMCC – Strategic Account Manager

“I was more reassured than ever that nothing beats face-to-face interaction to deepen partner and customer trust and discussing topics outside an official business meeting setting.” – KIRSTEN PETERSON – Account Director

“Pharma Forum is still the leading event to network in this industry. Supplier to planner, the connections are terrific and genuine.” – DAN TARPEY, HMCC– Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Another successful event in the books! Our team’s take-aways once again prove the value of meetings to stay connected to the latest trends and regulatory environments as well as make the valuable connections and relationships that are important to transform organizations; and in this case, save lives.