Meeting Planning: We're Not in Kansas Anymore - Pharmaceutical Executive


Meeting Planning: We're Not in Kansas Anymore
Meetings expert James Montague explains why the industry needed an independent program to certify medical meeting managers—and what he did about it

Pharmaceutical Executive

Do you think with the recent scrutiny of CME providers, the pharmaceutical companies might just throw up their hands, decide this is too difficult, and stop funding CME altogether?

There's really no way CME as an industry can go away. It does too much good, and there's too great a need for it. The industry itself can drive the compliance issues. They are in control of the grant dollars. They can say, "You know, we're not going to offer grants to these programs unless we can be assured as a company that they're accredited for the right reasons and that whoever is going to be executing these programs does whatever is necessary to ensure there is no bias downstream from when they get involved. Yes, there's a lot of scrutiny, and there's a lot of light being shined on the providers, right now. But it's really not that hard to do it right. And anyway, this notion that you can unduly influence physicians and make them offer a drug that has iffy indications or might not be better for the patients is just ludicrous. They're not going to do that. They wouldn't be in business that long if they did.

Do you think it's still possible to have a fun meeting and be compliant?

Oh, certainly. The bottom line is, at the end of the day, physicians just love getting together with their peers. They want to sit around the table. They want to listen to a speaker who is renowned in the field, someone who is speaking to a need they have. And they want to talk with their peers about what they're doing. That's really where a lot of learning comes from—not a didactic lecture. And if you do nothing else but deliver those items along with a decent meal, they're going to be satisfied.


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