April 4, 2016

How We Have Grown
A little over a decade ago, those of us servicing the Life Sciences Meetings and Events industry were blank faced, scratching our heads in the effort to understand terminology such as PhRMA, AdvaMED or remuneration rationale. We knew we were much more that party planners or balloon blower-uppers, but legal interpreters….accountants….compliance officers? In 2005, CBI, now a UBM Life Sciences Company in collaboration with Meetingsnet, held the inaugural CBI Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum in Philadelphia, PA to address the sudden shift in how meetings and engagements had evolved into an utterly complex landscape!
With over 200 in attendance in 2005, we hungered for the education that was necessary to arm each of us with the tools and resources so that we could navigate the restrictions and hurdles before us when planning and executing these events.
The CBI Pharmaceutical Meeting Planners Forum just marked its 12thconference, which was held in New York City on March 20-23rd at the Marriott Marquis, embracing over 800 attendees! While the categories of attendees have stayed fairly consistent, i.e. Corporate Meeting Professionals from Life Sciences, Hoteliers and Third Party Suppliers, the level of knowledge, diversity of skills and plethora of perspectives was off the charts!
Content was not US centric….yes, Open Payments and Transfer of Value reporting is still near and dear to our hearts, but GLOBALIZATION was the buzzword and what that means to the Strategic Meetings Management Programs(SMMP) out there. A luminary panel consisting of two large global pharmaceutical organizations and a large 3rd party supplier for meetings and events globally spoke about the need to evaluate what is working per region when rolling out or implementing an SMM program — don’t just implement, implement, implement. It is imperative that we breathe, evaluate and take inventory along the way in the hopes of understanding what is working and what is not.
A strong focus throughout was on European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Association (EFPIA) transparency and reporting requirements due in late June 2016. Our session, titled EFPIA Disclosure: Documenting and Reporting Requirement , was a standing room only event — much to my surprise, as it was scheduled late in the day, just prior to the networking cocktail reception. Information disseminated in the session and throughout the three day conference had one key theme — technology. Having the right technology is critical! Multiple organizations are struggling with not having a single solution that drives full transparency and ease of use for the HCP and stakeholders! Disparate systems, multiple vendors and fragmented processes are hurting all of us.
While taking inventory myself during the conference, I witnessed the many organizations and the range of expertise in attendance. Whether they are from large or small companies, supplier or corporate, US or Ex-US origin, each offered mentorship, success and horror stories, or just an empathetic ear to those embracing this profession. I realized that through these 12 years or more, through the multiple challenges and unknowns — we have skinned our knees and dried our tears — together we are ready for the next milestone — we are ready for change!
We truly have grown up.

Contributed by:

Lisa Keilty, Global VP of Compliance and Strategic Solutions, AHM

Lisa joined AHM after serving as founder of the Compliance Consulting firm PMC2 and spending over 26 years in the life sciences and meeting management industry. Leading such organizations as Pfizer, Bristol Myers Squibb and Biogen Idec through numerous international projects, financial transparency and reporting requirements, Lisa’s industry expertise has saved Life Sciences and Meeting Management organizations over 30 million dollars. As a member of the Business Development team, Lisa’s primary focus will be Thought Leadership, Demand Generation and Solution Design.