Reoccurring like a leitmotif through all the stories in this issue of Pharmaceutical Executive's Medical Education Meetings' supplement is the impact an increasingly stringent regulatory environment can have on physician meetings—promotional and non-promotional alike. Consider: Doctors are shying away from meetings due to new state laws on reporting payments to physicians (see "Global Meeting Mangement In An Age Of Compliance"); A stranglehold on scientific discussions is taking place at healthcare exhibitions as a result of the FDA guidance on off-label discussions (see "How To Blend Science and Promotion at a Heathcare Exhibit"); The quality of future clinical trails may well be compromised given the revised, and more restrictive, PhRMA Code for 2009 (see "A Meeting Planner's Point of View"); Rep-led meetings are effectively being eliminated under the new code—a real loss for the industry given rep-led meetings experienced the greatest growth at 11 percent of all events in 2007, according to Verispan's Physician Meeting & Event Audit.
Nonetheless, meetings continue to be an increasingly popular vehicle for educating healthcare professionals, and marketing pharmaceuticals. And on a brighter note: Restrictions also have been known to excite creativity (see "Interacting With Interactives"), and prompt innovation: A new type of physician meeting that dramatically affects prescribing habits (see "Like-minded Physicians Influence Each Other") consists of gathering physicians in a room and getting them to talk to ... each other. Now that's novel.
— Marylyn Donahue
Marylyn Donahue is Pharmaceutical Executive's special projects editor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org