In February, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) introduced legislation to Congress—the TARP [Troubled Asset Relief Program] Taxpayer Protection
and Corporate Responsibility Act—which, if passed, would require companies that have received TARP funds to obtain a waiver
from the Secretary of the Treasury before hosting, sponsoring, or paying for conferences, holiday parties, or entertainment
What effect TARP will have on the corporate meeting industry in general remains to be seen. As for pharma, industry meetings
already fall under an increasingly hostile array of regulatory requirements and guidelines—the revised PhRMA code, the revised
AdvaMed code, plus new state, federal, and international regulations.
If there was ever a time for companies to be strategic in their meeting planning, this is it, according to consultant George
Odom, a pioneer in pharma meeting consolidation and strategic meeting management programs (SMMP). In this special section,
Odom speaks to Pharmaceutical Executive about how a fully mature SMMP can both save money and produce effective meetings (p.78). Elsewhere in the section, meeting
planner Sue Potton offers suggestions on how to turn relationships between clients and trusted vendors into effective strategic
partnerships (p.85). And if you've ever wondered how you get to be a preferred vendor, Judith Benaroche (a preferred vendor
to six pharma companies) passes along five keys to getting on pharma's short list.
And finally, on a bright note: Despite regulatory requirements and a recession, professional attendance at healthcare meetings
grew 1.4 percent in 2008 over the previous year, according to the Healthcare Convention and Exhibitors Association's 2009
State of the Industry Report and Market Trend Watch (p.70).
The report, which analyzes data from over 24,000 healthcare meetings in the United States, also found that the number of healthcare
exhibits increased 2 percent in 2008 over 2007.
– Marylyn Donahue, Special Projects Editor