Five Key Compliance-Related Questions When Initiating a Meeting with International Healthcare Professionals

hcp compliance

Five Key Compliance-Related Questions When Initiating a Meeting with International Healthcare Professionals

Five Key Compliance-Related Questions When Initiating a Meeting with International Healthcare Professionals

  • Who is sponsoring or paying for the meeting?

It’s important to understand when all or a portion of an HCPs meetings expenses are being covered by a pharmaceutical company. Sometimes multiple entities may be involved with executing a program so it’s important to understand which is making the actual transfer of value and who will be responsible for reporting the spend. It is also important that the country lead is aware of the spend and reporting processes so that they can document it accordingly or advise if there are concerns. The sponsor’s compliance guidelines must be followed exactly.

  • Who are the attendees and where are they from?

Besides the need to understand where attendees are coming from in order to find a central location, there are a variety of other reasons for gathering the origin of attendees when managing a meeting with international participants. The sponsor stakeholders or meeting planning agency must confirm each potential attendees’ participation with country leads prior to inviting attendees from that country. In the US, the attendee meal caps and other regulations are based on the country of origin of each international attendee. In order to provide a consistent experience in food & beverage, accommodations and travel options, we need to know where attendees are coming from and their specific country regulations (we’ll share more detail on this topic later). . Understanding where your participants are coming from is also vital when creating your project plan. In some countries, it may be challenging to get a hold of country counterparts to gain participant approvals during the summer months or around holidays. Some countries may require visas for traveling to your preferred meeting location which will require additional paperwork. These are all important factors to consider when finalizing your meeting date and setting expectations.

  • Are there any compliant meeting caps that will impact the budget/planning?

Sponsor compliance codes are constantly changing, so you must always confirm caps with the meeting stakeholder or compliance department prior to sourcing for hotels. There is no federal law that states a meal cap – the industry operates within the confines of self-regulation. Each company has their own recommended amounts for meal caps in their markets. If you’re unsure of the company’s policies, it is best to check with the legal and compliance team for guidance. EFPIA, much like the Federal Government, does not have meal cap laws or guidelines other than being reasonable. The meal cap amounts are determined by the country in which the meeting is held or by the participants’ countries. Providing these caps and your expectations to the venue during sourcing and contracting, will allow the venue to prepare an accurate proposal and limit challenges during planning. The pro tip would be to ask your client to check the history of caps for each country that participants are coming from and use the lowest numbers as your starting point when calculation F&B minimums. Because sponsors do not like to offer different meals to HCPs, the best practice is to plan to the lowest common denominator – if one HCP must have breakfast for $15, inclusive, then all HCPs will have the same meal.

  • Are there other guidelines/laws/regulations/codes that may govern the meeting?

In addition to meal caps, there are often additional country regulations to consider when planning a meeting– i.e. some require that you stay below a certain star rating, they may limit the number of hotel nights for a meeting attendee, and some may even provide restrictions on payment for time spent traveling or meal functions. By understanding these restrictions early on, you can make educated decisions in meeting location – both venue and geographical and help to create the outline of your agenda prior to flights being booked. For example, if you were planning a 1 ½ day meeting but a number of your participants have a one night restriction and cannot be paid for meal functions with no content, you may consider holding your meeting in a location where those participants can come in the morning of day 1 and starting at a time that would allow them to do so. In order to make up the lost time that morning, you could consider a working lunch.

  • What data is required for reporting? 

When it comes to reporting for meetings with international attendees, requirements may vary by company or country. Understanding what is required in the early stages of planning will allow you to capture the appropriate information in registration, without having to go back to the participants multiple times and will help you communicate appropriately with country leads. In addition, some companies may require TOV to be reported by individual and spend type, others as an aggregate spend per individual and others as a general meeting spend. You will want to know how you’re required to breakdown this information after the meeting so that you can manage the data accordingly during planning.

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