If you’re hosting a party this holiday season, you know just how important RSVPs are: Without an accurate headcount, you could run out of punch or end up with way too much leftover food.
The stakes are considerably higher when it comes to in-person life sciences educational programming. Although these kinds of face-to-face interactions have been proven to deliver ROI by numerous metrics of HCP engagement, having a system that doesn’t let you manage invitations in real time — or not having a system at all — is a risk pharmaceutical companies today should take pains to avoid at all costs.
Having a tool that automates this kind of oversight also takes some of the administrative burden off the life sciences rep tasked with coordinating the gathering and provides a vehicle for encouraging and ensuring compliance. If too few HCPs indicate that they plan to attend — and if your system has the capability of alerting you to that prospect — you can be proactive and cancel the event. Absent that, failing to confirm HCP attendance before the event could leave you “underwater” on the company’s internal parameters for per-person expense caps.
As anyone involved in the planning of life sciences educational meetings knows, complying with per-attendee caps on meals and other expenses is challenging enough at the best of times; if you have too few attendees to share those costs equally, even the most rigorous F&B standards won’t be able to keep your numbers where they need to be.
Absent a compliance-centric system for managing HCP responses, poorly-executed HCP attendance management has ramifications that impact speakers as well as attendees. Prosecutors have penalized pharmaceutical companies for bringing in speakers for educational programming — paying honoraria, transportation and other expenses — only to have those speakers presenting to an empty or virtually empty room. The risk is that a life sciences company might, in effect, pay a speaker for not providing a service. Even inadvertently, this is at best a waste of resources and at worst, the kind of occurrence that can make a company vulnerable to regulatory scrutiny.
To avoid the optics of running afoul of anti-kickback laws, some life sciences companies’ internal controls call for proactive monitoring of how frequently speakers present on a topic, as well as how frequently individual HCPs attend education that covers a particular product or therapeutic treatment. In today’s global economy, life sciences companies have to be aware of and comply with what can be a patchwork of state regulations throughout the United States, as well as requirements set by other countries’ regulators for overseas meetings. A truly robust compliance-centric management system should be inclusive of all of these parameters.
Claire Rizza, VP, Account Management, AHM
Claire joined AHM in 2006 as a Service Delivery, Senior Director. After launching one of AHM’s flagship accounts she was promoted to VP of Account Management where she has been responsible for multiple large accounts. Prior to AHM Claire spent ten years at a Medical Education Company, she also spent 15 years at Parke-Davis. In total Claire has over 30 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and 25 years in speakers bureau.