What is in this article?:
Taking a pharmaceutical meeting outside the U.S. can get complicated as you have to consider the meeting's host country's rules around payments to healthcare providers, as well as those of the HCPs' home countries. This article offers a country-by-country snapshot of HCP-related rules and codes, and tips on other things to consider when planning a meeting for HCPs outside of the U.S.
More Than Just Transparency Rules
It’s not just the transparency rules that planners need to know, Burberry pointed out. Here are some other issues:
Data privacy: Look at what data is being collected, where and how it will be used, and who will be using it, said Burberry. Ideally, HCPs would contractually agree to let you share their data. If they don’t, it may be illegal to share it, depending on the laws of that HCP’s country of residence. “This is mainly a European thing right now, but everyone is concerned” about data privacy, he said.
Origin: You need to find out as soon as possible whence your HCPs hail and their state/country of license, said Burberry. These may not always be the same thing. For example, he said, there are a lot of U.S.–licensed physicians who reside in Canada. If they have no influence in the U.S., do you still have to report their expenses?
Meals: “It’s easy to track honoraria and flights—if it goes through your travel agency, anyway. Unless your system is tied to expenses, though, it can be difficult to track meals,” said Burberry. He suggests knowing your attendees by name, and documenting all meal-related expenses to ensure you stay within the code limits on per-meal HCP spend.
“You need to know in advance what the limits are for each of your attendees, and how you are going to manage abiding by them,” he said. For example, Burberry said with tongue firmly in cheek, if you have a German attendee with a 60 euro limit and a U.S. doc with a $100 limit, do you ask the German to leave before dessert? And, he added, keep in mind that not all countries manage conferences the same way. For example, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe/Africa/Middle East countries may charge differently for conference space and other meeting-related costs. He suggested developing a glossary that defines the terms you’re using to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Know the codes: Every country has its own code, and planners need to understand both those of their HCPs’ home countries and those of their meeting’s host country. For example, according to the Italian code, docs may only be allowed to fly coach, regardless of where in the world they travel. “Look at codes for both originating country and country where the meeting is held, and abide by the strictest,” he said. For third-party planners, this knowledge can make the difference between a long and happy relationship with pharma clients and being excluded from further business.
Know the other regulatory considerations. If you’re asking HCPs to work outside of their home country, you also have to think about contractual legality, visa requirements (did you know that anyone who “works” in Russia on a tourist visa risks the potential of jail?) and payment and tax requirements. Burberry said that a lot of companies are moving toward basingand payments in the HCP’s country of residence.